Yesterday we went to the Opera Hamlet (1868) written of the french composer Ambroise Thomas and based off of the original Shakespeare drama from 1603. The Opera was very well performed and directed, with phenomenal performances of the singers. Especially note worthy was the performance of Ofelia (Ditte Højgaard Andersen) with amazing coloraturas done with both ease and feeling, which left the audience amazed and perplexed.
In addition to beautiful music the play was set with a modern touch, which made the listener able to relate even more to the classic story. The traditional drama ingredients deceit, adultery and murder are after all not too hard to imagine in our current society (despite what one might have wanted), so setting the stage in a modern fashion made the story feel much younger than its 413 years. Combined with wonderful acting, well directed scenes and beautiful props and scenery the music made the opera really entertaining.
After a good two and a half hours of intrigues and setting up the story the final events unfolded quickly with the death of Ofelia Hamlet’s fiancé as well as Hamlet’s murder of Claudius (the king of Denmark, who murdered Hamlet’s father in the beginning of the play) and the coronation of Hamlet himself. The whole play ended abruptly with an epic musical ending. Apparently the opera has an alternative ending, where Hamlet commits suicide in the end. This alternative ending was written for the English premiere in Covent Garden and the Göteborgsoperan has hade performances of both endings during the production.
The cultural experience was topped by the fact that yesterday was the birthday and 400th day since the death of William Shakespeare himself. It is truly interesting how a man’s works can be almost contemporary more than four hundred years later and one can really appreciate the cultural greatness that Shakespeare left behind.
Looking forward to our next opera, but that time we will have eaten something before, so that more of our focus might be on the opera rather than our empty stomachs. We will keep you posted…