Shakespeare + Opera + Ballet

If you like a bit of ballet or opera with your Shakespeare and you’re in the neighborhood, the Royal Opera House in London is staging both Verdi’s Macbeth and Kenneth MacMillan’s ballet Romeo & Juliet later this month.

Verdi’s Macbeth is always a popular opera, with instantly appealing music and a familiar story taken from Shakespeare’s play. The treacherous and scheming couple at its centre make for wonderful operatic villains – the type of strongly drawn characters that Verdi portrays in his music so well. With Simon Keenlyside making his Royal Opera debut in the title role, and with Antonio Pappano, Music Director of the Royal Opera, conducting the opera, this is a revival with an extra thrill. Macbeth’s ‘dagger’ soliloquy and Lady Macbeth’s sleepwalking scene are just two of the play’s famous moments that inspired Verdi to wonderfully inventive and atmospheric music. The heroic Macduff, a chorus of witches and the vivid apparition of the eight kings complete an opera that has the composer at his most theatrical. Phyllida Lloyd’s production, last presented by The Royal Opera in 2006, uses Verdi’s 1865 revision, especially noted for Lady Macbeth’s great aria ‘La luce langue’ and the wonderful Act IV opening chorus, and brings out the dark motivations of the Macbeths and the light of justice for those they wrong.

The Royal Ballet is thrilled to announce that it will perform Kenneth MacMillan’s timeless classic Romeo and Juliet at The O2 in June 2011. This will be the first time the world-renowned ballet company has performed in a UK arena and promises to be a ballet spectacle to remember.

A stellar cast of Royal Ballet dancers including Carlos Acosta, Tamara Rojo, Mara Galeazzi, Edward Watson, Alina Cojocaru and Johan Kobborg will dance the roles of the famous star-crossed lovers for four shows, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by the Royal Ballet Music Director, Barry Wordsworth.

Any geeks out there an opera and/or ballet fan, and want to tell us about it? I have to admit I’ve seen neither ballet nor opera with a Shakespeare twist. I would say “other than the occasional channel surfing past PBS” but as I think back I’m not sure I’ve even seen that much.
I can, however, tell you about the time a professional wrestler stopped mid match to quote Hamlet’s Yorick speech. True story.

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