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Watch: Why composers and directors can't resist adapting the works of Shakespeare

Nicholas Hytner, Keith Warner and Joby Talbot explore the Bard's legacy within opera and ballet.

By Asher Korner (Former Assistant Content Producer)

15 May 2017 at 5.09pm | 5 Comments

An ROH Insight exploring how opera and ballet directors, choreographers and composers adapt the works of Shakespeare was recently livestreamed via the Royal Opera House YouTube channel.

Among other highlights during the event, director Keith Warner gave insights into his upcoming Royal Opera production of Otello. Joining him in a panel discussion chaired by leading Shakespeare scholar and Fellow of the British Academy Jonathan Bate were former Artistic Director of the National Theatre Nicholas Hytner and composer Joby Talbot, who created the memorable score for The Royal Ballet's The Winter's Tale. As well as discussion, the event included performances from members of The Royal Opera.

The event was presented by broadcaster and regular ROH Cinema Season presenter Clemency Burton-Hill.

Subscribe to the Royal Opera House YouTube channel to be notified about future livestreams:

This Insight was presented in partnership with the British Academy as part of Literature Week 2017

This article has 5 comments

  1. Graeme Withers responded on 17 May 2017 at 4:12am Reply

    The YouTube clip for the Shakespeare says May 16 at 4.30. Your article says May 17 at 7.30. Confusion in my mind as well.

    • Chris Shipman (Head of Brand Engagement and Social Media) responded on 17 May 2017 at 10:07am

      Hi Graeme,

      This has been corrected within YouTube.

      Apologies in any confusion - the event will take place at 7.30pm tonight as stated above.



  2. Richard Thomson responded on 18 May 2017 at 10:17am Reply

    Thanks for streaming this. Getting Jonathan Bate to chair it this was impressive. Nicholas Hytner in particular got into some good specific detail on representing and presenting Shakespeare across theatre/ballet/opera. He said quite a lot - I wish he'd said more.

    I also enjoyed it when he hammered Berlioz's Beatrice and Benedict! A text man indeed. I'd reply who cares when so much of the music is wonderful.

  3. Abigail Smith responded on 18 May 2017 at 11:48am Reply

    I enjoyed this talk but found it absolutely unbelievable that you think an all-male panel is acceptable. Could you really not find a single woman with something to say about adapting Shakespeare? Most other sectors are challenging this kind of thing and have strict rules about no all-male panels. It's a real sign of how backward the so-called progressive cultural sector is that you were able to put this event on without it occurring to anyone that there was a problem.

    • Asher Korner (Former Assistant Content Producer) responded on 18 May 2017 at 3:52pm

      Dear Abigail,

      Many thanks for your comment.

      We understand and appreciate your concerns, and would like to stress that the Royal Opera House is absolutely committed to challenging gender inequality in as many ways as possible. Our work with Tonic Theatre, for example, is helping us identify female talent at every level and increase their representation and visibility. All-male panels on our insight broadcasts are rare occurrences.

      I would like to reassure you that they are the exception rather than the rule and we do all we can to avoid them.

      All the best,

      Asher Korner

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