‘A chilling production that leaves the audience bewildered’, said Dutch leading newspaper NRC about Médée by OPERA2DAY. As its successor, the company now brings Hamlet, the ‘grand opéra’ by Ambroise Thomas based on Shakespeare’s masterpiece. For generations of opera buffs, it was a milestone in the opera repertoire. Not so strange, as Hamlet is a dream role for every baritone and Ophélie was given one of the best insanity scenes ever. OPERA2DAY presents a compact version in which we penetrate Hamlet’s shadowland using a mix of opera and film.
The opera by Ambroise Thomas (1811-1896) comes up to every expectation of what a Hamlet performance has to offer. We see King Claudius’s degenerated court in all its pomp and circumstance, an intense inner struggle of the hero, a mysteriously accompanied appearance of his father, and there is exceptionally moving music for the insane Ophélie. The librettists, who earlier provided texts for Gounod’s Faust, brought the playback to its very core. The masterly music is a revelation to both opera and Shakespeare enthusiasts.
Read the synopsis here.
After its première in Paris in 1868 – exactly 150 years before 2018 – the opera Hamlet was one of the most performed for decades, as one of the vast parts of the repertoire. Until 1919, for example, the opera was staged 153 (!) times in the Koninklijke Schouwburg at The Hague, mainly an opera house in those days.
Close to 100 years later the Dutch companies OPERA2DAY and the New European Ensemble base their musical interpretation on the scores and parts of these performances, which they unearthed from the archives. The two partners recently worked together in a similar way in Dr. Miracle’s last illusion, a performance that was – as the press said – ‘spectacular’ (de Volkskrant) and ‘a hit’ (Theaterkrant).