Today, the Glyndebourne Festival presents the world première of Brett Dean's Hamlet, an opera in two acts with a libretto by Matthew Jocelyn based on Shakespeare.
It is the composer's second opera after Bliss (Sydney, March 12, 2010).
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 ? (reproduced from the Glyndebourne Festival website)The cast includes tenor Allan Clayton (Hamlet), mezzo Sarah Connolly (Gertrude), soprano Barbara Hannigan (Ophelia), bass-baritone Rod Gilfry (Claudius), tenor Kim Begley (Polonius), bass John Tomlinson (Ghost of Old Hamlet). Vladimir Jurowski conducts the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Glyndebourne Chorus. Neil Armfield directs.
The required orchestra is the following (according to the Boosey & Hawkes website) :
- 3 flutes, 2 oboes, 5 clarinets, 2 bassoons ;
- 4 horns, 4 trumpets, 3 trombones, 1 tuba ;
- percussion (4 players) ;
- timpani, accordion, harp, keyboard ;
- strings (10.8.6.6.4)
These numbers include two identical trios, each consisting of 1 clarinet, 1 trumpet and 1 percussion, to be stationed in the theatre throughout.
The performance should last about 140 minutes, and the complete performance including interval should last about 4 hours.
The programme book for the complete Festival is a large 144 pages book. It contains 11 pages on Hamlet :
- the synopsis ;
- complete cast and crew ;
- a discussion with the creative team (composer, librettist, conductor, director, leading man Allan Clayton and dramaturg Cori Ellison) ;
- We who are Hamlet, by Sarah Crompton ;
- Will the real Hamlet please stand up ? by James Shapiro ;
- artists biographies for the whole Festival, with black and white headshots.
I now have 476 programme books for contemporary operas. All scanned covers are in this flickr folder.