A story of betrayal, revenge and madness
To be, or not to be. This is Hamlet’s dilemma, and the essence of Shakespeare’s most famous and arguably greatest work, given new life in operatic form in this original Glyndebourne commission.
Thoughts of murder and revenge drive Hamlet when he learns that it was his uncle Claudius who killed his father, the King of Denmark, then seized his father’s crown and wife.
But Hamlet’s vengeance vies with the question: is suicide a morally valid deed in an unbearably painful world?
‘The themes of life and death, love and betrayal have opera written all over them.’
—Brett Dean, Composer
Shakespeare’s Hamlet reconfigured for a world premiere
Dean’s colourful, energetic, witty and richly lyrical music expertly captures the modernity of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, while also exploiting the traditional operatic elements of arias, ensembles and choruses.
Matthew Jocelyn’s inspired libretto is pure Shakespeare, adhering to the Bard’s narrative thread but abridging, reconfiguring and interweaving it into motifs that highlight the main dramatic themes: death, madness, the impossibility of certainty and the complexities of action.
Sung in English with English subtitles