How Opera Butchered the Bard: The Fraught Relationship Between Shakespeare and Opera

There are over twenty operas based on Shakespeare’s plays and characters, but most of these bear little resemblance to Bard’s original plays. Since the 1600s, composers have been captivated by the texts of Shakespeare, yet rarely stick to his plot points or narrative structure. In their lectures, our writers explore many operas and their composers. In this lecture, our writers at web explore the complex relationship between Shakespeare on the stage and Shakespeare on the operatic stage. We examine operas by Purcell, Britten, Verdi, Rossini, Bellini, Gounod, and many more. We address the alterations made to such classics as Romeo and Juliet, Othello, Macbeth, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. A live opera singer performs arias and we compare them to the original texts.