Verdi’s Macbeth: “The opera without a love affair!”

“L’opera senza amore!” That was the Italians’ reaction to Verdi’s Macbeth when it premiered in Florence in 1847. Despite its immediate success and subsequent popularity, an opera that involved no great love affair struck audiences as an oddity. It was not as if Verdi was known for any blatantly amorous scenes in his operas—quite the… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare’s muses: The magic in his method

It’s a tantalizing mystery: What was Shakespeare’s inspiration? What was the source of his talent? How on earth did he do what he did? Were his abilities and success the product of native talent forged by practice and honed by association and collaboration with talented theatre colleagues and great actors — or was he in… Continue Reading »


Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer in Henry IV, Part 1

In Henry IV, Part 1, Shakespeare created Lady Percy and Lady Mortimer out of the fragments of history, giving them voices that appeal freshly to us today.




Chimes at Midnight: Orson Welles is Falstaff

Chimes at Midnight, the 1966 film directed by and starring Orson Welles, constructs a rich, complex, and moving portrait of the larger-than-life Sir John Falstaff, who appears in three of Shakespeare’s plays and is among the best-known characters in all of literature.