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Easily the most respected, revered, and researched author of all time, William Shakespeare and his works have forever changed the face of literature, inspiring playful discussion and heated debate for hundreds of years. He wrote such well-known plays as Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, published more than 150 sonnets, and coined more than 1,500 new words. While much of his life remains a mystery, this engrossing reference examines all facets of Shakespeare and his writings.
We all know the legend of Robin Hood: robbed from the rich, gave to the poor, loved Maid Marian, and, with his band of Merry Men, battled the evil Prince John and his Sheriff in medieval England. In this play we learn that William Shakespeare is the author of Robin Hood's legend and that he has written himself a starring part in it. In the play Shakespeare befriends Robin Hood and persuades him to take up the cause of the oppressed peasants of Stratford-upon-Avon. Everyone falls in love with the fair Maid Marian, Shakespeare's niece and muse, including both Robin Hood and the evil Prince John. When Marian rejects Prince John, he throws her into the dungeon after where she is in the clutches of a couple of insane, musical dungeon keepers. There she meets the ladies of Stratford-upon-Avon (i.e., the "Avon" ladies) and a brilliantly hilarious court jester, who soften Marian's hard time. Of course there are the rotund Friar Tuck, gentle giant Little John, licentious Will Scarlett and the quaint townsfolk of Stratford-upon-Avon who share many a cup of mead.Ultimately Marian, her "Uncle William" and Robin's band of merry men and women save the Kingdom with a little help from the true ruler, King Richard the Lionheart.Helping to make this Shakespeare's Robin Hood, the script artfully weaves into it some 90 quotes from works by the Bard. But even so, the play flows and sparkles with modern humor, wit and song.So join Shakespeare, his niece and our heroes, villains and townsfolk as they ride through the quaint English forest --- with occasional breaks for drinks, songs and mirth --- to a thrilling conclusion.The script is fully annotated with lyrics, stage directions, prop lists, role characterizations and other tools to help any ambitious community theater troupe turn this vision of not-quite-Shakespeare into reality. The play has 15 principal actors and up to 25 additional parts, and is ideally produced with a live minstrel band of Renaissance-period instruments.Come join us now in jolly ol' England
In this book, Daniel Albright, one of today's most intrepid and vividly communicative explorers of the border territory between literature and music, offers insights into how composers of genius can help us to understand Shakespeare. Musicking Shakespeare demonstrates how four composers -- Purcell, Berlioz, Verdi, and Britten -- respond to the distinctive features of Shakespeare's plays: their unwieldiness, their refusal to fit into interpretive boxes, their ranting quality, their arbitrary bursts of gorgeousness. The four composers break the normal forms of opera -- of music altogether -- in order to come to terms with the challenges that Shakespeare presents to the music dramatist. Musicking Shakespeare begins with an analysis of Shakespeare's play The Tempest as an imaginary Jacobean opera and as a real Restoration opera. It then discusses works that respond with wit and sophistication to Shakespeare's irony, obscurity, contortion, and heft: Berlioz's Româ€šo et Juliette, Verdi's Macbeth, Purcell's The Fairy Queen, and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream. These works are problematic in the ways that Shakespeare's plays are problematic. Shakespeare's favorite dramatic device is to juxtapose two kinds of theatres within a single play, such as the formal masque and the loose Elizabethan stage. The four composers studied here respond to this aspect of Shakespeare's art by going beyond the comfort zone of the operatic medium. The music dramas they devise call opera into question. Daniel Albright is the Ernest Bernbaum Professor of Literature at Harvard University.
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