Posts Tagged: Shakespeare operas

Venus and Adonis: The classical myth that inspired Shakespeare’s epic poem and John Blow’s 17th-century opera

What many consider to be the earliest known English opera shares its mythological subject with Shakespeare’s most popular published work during his lifetime: the epic poem Venus and Adonis. Here we see great artists from different centuries using different art forms to make new creations from the same source material, putting their own mark on… Continue Reading »


Shakespeare and opera: Jealousy and tragedy in Verdi’s Otello

I find it fascinating that Verdi’s last two operas were both inspired by Shakespeare: Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893), yet they are very different in story, style, and tone. Verdi looked to the Bard’s plays of Othello (1604) and the Merry Wives of Windsor (1600), plus the Henry plays, as a catalyst. There are plenty… Continue Reading »


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 »



A feast of Falstaff: Sir John in opera

There’s no other character from Shakespeare who has charmed the imaginations of opera composers and librettists more than Sir John Falstaff.