The Bard Goes to the Opera: Celebrating Shakespeare

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In case you haven't noticed, we're celebrating William Shakespeare this week. Wednesday marked the 450th anniversary of his birth. This Saturday at 12:30 pm host Naomi Lewin will explore adaptations of Shakespearean works for the opera stage.

Nearly 300 operatic works have been based on Shakespeare's plays. On this episode, Garry Wills, author of Verdi’s Shakespeare - Two Men of the Theater, discusses the Bard's influence on Giuseppe Verdi.

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Giuseppe Verdi Macbeth “Ah, la paterna mano”
Victor Orchestra; Walter B. Rogers, conductor; Enrico Caruso, tenor
Victor 88558 | Recorded February 23, 1916

Giuseppe Verdi Macbeth “Tutto è finito!
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Erich Leinsdorf, conductor
Leonie Rysanek, soprano; Leonard Warren, baritone
Sony 721202 | Live recording from 1959

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Esultate”
Beniamino Gigli, tenor
Hallmark Recordings B0055A3HG4 | From the 1941 film Mamma directed by Guido Brignone

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Vanne…Credo in un Dio crudel”
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra; Ettore Panizza, conductor; Lawrence Tibbett, baritone
Sony 721202 | Live recording from 1940

Giuseppe Verdi Otello “Ave Maria”
Bourdon double string quartet; Rosario Bourdon, conductor; Rosa Ponselle, soprano
Victor 6474B | Recorded January 23, 1924