Sounds and sweet airs: Shakespeare and music


”Shakespeare’s works are filled with characters striving for inner freedom during times when actual freedom is in deficit”


‘Shakespeare in music is a little like Shakespeare in translation: every era brings its own viewpoint and interpretation – and he has inspired century after century of composers. My first encounter with music connected to Shakespeare was probably Prokofiev’s ballet score Romeo and Juliet, which my father conducted with the Komische Opera Ballet in East Berlin; later, Verdi’s operas Macbeth, Otello and Falstaff; then the Russian films of Hamlet scored by Shostakovich, plus film versions of theatre plays in which the music resembled that of Shakespeare’s time, although it was almost impossible in the USSR to hear a recording of Purcell’s The Fairy Queen. Interestingly the production of Romeo and Juliet that my father was conducting (choreographed by Tom Schilling) suggested the lovers were separated not just by a family feud, but by a wall.’


Watch the videos and listen to the clips here!


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