Hamlet Opera


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0229  Friday, 8 June 2012


From:        Jeff Dailey <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 7, 2012 11:46:07 AM EDT

Subject:     Hamlet Opera


Hamlet, the new opera in five acts by Nancy Van de Vate, will be broadcast internationally by Swiss Radio on June 8, 2012.  American and Canadian listeners should go to www.swissradio.ch for the two-hour and 45-minute program, which will begin at 5:48 pm EDT. 


The CDs of the opera are difficult to get in the US at this time but will be available soon from Arkivmusic.com. 


This is a fascinating opera, one of the rare examples of an opera being shorter than the play on which it is based (akin to Levy’s Morning Becomes Electra).  It focuses on the most important aspects of the plot, which it enhances with music.  I have listened to the CDs several times, and I hear new and interesting things with each hearing. 


For further information about the broadcast, contact S. Kratsch at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Jeff Dailey


CFP: “The Early Modern Reception of Shakespeare in Print and Manuscript”


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0228  Thursday, 7 June 2012


From:        Jean-Christophe MAYER <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 7, 2012 4:15:40 AM EDT

Subject:     CFP: “The Early Modern Reception of Shakespeare in Print and Manuscript”



Dear Colleagues,


This is a call for papers for a seminar entitled “The Early Modern Reception of Shakespeare in Print and Manuscript: The Rise of Shakespearean Cultural Capital?”, which we will be organising at the European Shakespeare Research Association (ESRA) congress in Montpellier, in southern France, next summer, 26-29 June 2013. 


The goal of this seminar will be to look into the early formation of the Shakespearean myth—how, in other words, belief in the value of his works and in his significance as a writer was constructed. The eighteenth century is often seen as the moment of the true rise of Shakespearean cultural capital. As a result, the early modern reception of Shakespeare in both print and manuscript has received comparatively little attention. The quantity and quality of the early readerly response to Shakespeare, for instance, remains underestimated, despite the fact that it anticipates and initiates in crucial ways the process of Shakespearean myth-making which we more commonly associate with later centuries.


Participants in this seminar will thus be invited to reflect upon the early modern presence of Shakespeare in print and manuscript. 


Colleagues interested in book history, manuscript studies, early modern cultural studies, or the symbolic production, circulation and consumption of Shakespeare in the early modern period will be especially welcome to join the seminar.


Here is a link to information about the seminars at the conference: <http://dl.dropbox.com/u/66244838/esra_montpellier2012seminars_cfp_def.pdf>. For more general information about ESRA and next summer’s conference, see here: <http://www.um.es/shakespeare/esra/conferences/montpellier.php>.


If you are interested, please submit an abstract (200-300 words) and a brief bio (150 words) by 1 October 2012 to the convenors: <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.> and <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>


Best wishes,

Lukas Erne & Jean-Christophe Mayer


London Exhibition: Open City: London, 1500-1700


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0227  Thursday, 7 June 2012


From:        Folger Shakespeare Library <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Wednesday, June 6, 2012 4:25 PM

Subject:     London Exhibition: Open City: London, 1500-1700




Open City: London, 1500-1700


Curator(s): Kathleen Lynch and Betsy Walsh


Folger Great Hall


Jun 5–Sep 30

Tickets: FREE


Celebrate London this summer with an in-depth look at the city’s early modern past, a time of fire, plague, and religious schisms, as well as international commerce, explosive population growth, and a bubbling mix of new ideas.


Open City: London, 1500-1700 explores how wide-ranging changes in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries translated into Londoners’ daily lives and familiar gathering places, from churches and marketplaces to public theaters. Filled with rare maps, books, prints, plays, deeds, diaries, and more, the exhibition explores what life was like in a capital city with some surprising similarities to our own.


Over the course of two centuries, London changed from the capital of England, secure within its medieval walls, to a metropolitan seat of empire. Its population grew tenfold. Some urban developments were spurred by the dissolution of the monasteries, a royal decree that was both politically and religiously motivated. Also reshaping the city were natural tragedies, like repeated bouts of the plague or the Great Fire of 1666 that destroyed more than 13,000 homes, 86 churches, and over 400 acres in the heart of the city. Such events had a significant impact on the built environment, opening up spaces for repurposing.

Open City explores activities and pressures that altered Londoners’ sense of community, focusing especially on three types of institutions that touched everyday lives: church, theater, and market. Drawing on materials as disparate as deeds, diaries, engravings, and maps, Open City illustrates the impact of new ideas, new products, and new people in this rapidly growing capital city.


Between 1500 and 1700, London grew from the capital of England with a population of 50,000 to the seat of an emerging empire with a population nearing 500,000. At the beginning of this period, most of London’s population lived within the medieval walls. By the end, only a minority did. However, at no point did the boundaries of the incorporated city contain the vitality of the metropolitan area. Therefore, Open City takes an expansive view of London, with all of its overlapping and competing authorities, and its influx and exchange of ideas, products, habits, and beliefs that characterize city life. Open City looks to three everyday gathering places where people mixed for business, leisure, and worship.



The state religion of England switched from Catholicism to Protestantism (and back again). But the idea that there should be a state church remained, until eventually the religious controversies that disrupted parish communities made way for certain limited principles and practices of religious freedom in London and elsewhere.



Commercial theaters were a new phenomenon in late sixteenth-century London. The public playhouses brought together people from up and down the social scale. The plays also moved up and down the scale of forms of entertainment, from popular to elite. They brought to life scenes from the faraway world, the affairs of state, and London’s own teeming streets.



Diverging interests within trade companies were changing London’s markets. At the same time, international trade opened those markets to new competitions and products from around the world.


Examining the many and often contested activities within church, theater, and market, Open City: London 1500-1700 juxtaposes the changing ways in which Londoners formed communities, negotiated social relations, and understood their places in the world.


Online Exhibition: http://www.folger.edu/Content/Whats-On/Folger-Exhibitions/Open-City-London-1500-1700/Online-Exhibition/


The Curtain Theatre Unearthed


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0226  Wednesday, 6 June 2012


From:        Stuart Manger <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 6, 2012 6:17:35 AM EDT

Subject:     ‘The Curtain’




Might interest members. 


[Editor’s Note: Thanks to Stuart Manger for calling attention to this news. Below are excerpts from The Guardian and several other reports. –Hardy]




Shakespeare’s Curtain theatre unearthed in east London: 

Theatre where Romeo and Juliet was first performed is rediscovered in Shoreditch centuries after it was dismantled


Maev Kennedy

The Guardian, Tuesday 5 June 2012


Well preserved remains of Shakespeare’s original “wooden O” stage, the Curtain theatre where Henry V and Romeo and Juliet were first performed, have been discovered in a yard in east London.


The Curtain theatre in Shoreditch preceded the Globe on the Thames as Shakespeare’s first venue, showcasing several of his most famous plays. But it was dismantled in the 17th century and its precise location lost.


Now part of the gravelled yard in Shoreditch where the groundlings stood, ate, gossiped and watched the plays, and foundation walls on which the tiers of wooden galleries were built have been uncovered in what was open ground for 500 years while the surrounding district became one of the most densely built in London.


Experts from Museum of London Archaeology (MoLA) have found two sections of exterior wall, crucial for giving the dimensions of the theatre, and are confident of revealing more as the site is cleared for redevelopment. An outer yard paved with sheep knuckle bones could date from the theatre or slightly later housing.


It has long been known that the Curtain – named after the ancient road it fronted – was in the area, but its exact site was lost after the building fell into disuse in the late 1620s. The site in Hewett Street is only a stone’s throw from a remarkably accurate plaque marking the best guess for its location. The Curtain, built in 1577, was only a few hundred yards from another theatre further along Curtain Road, imaginatively named the Theatre, whose foundations were discovered in 2008, also by MoLA. Both were among the earliest purpose-built theatres in London, and intimately connected with Shakespeare.


When the actor-manager James Burbage fell out with his landlord at the Theatre, the company – according to cherished theatre legend – dismantled the timbers overnight and shipped them across the river to build his most famous theatre, the Globe, on Bankside.


Until the new theatre was ready, his company used the Curtain for at least two years from 1597, where Henry V, and it is believed Romeo and Juliet, were first staged. The vivid image of a theatre as a wooden O comes from the prologue to Henry V: “Can this Cock-Pit hold within this Woodden O, the very Caskes that did affright the Ayre at Agincourt?”


[ . . . ]


Chris Thomas of MoLA, who led the excavation, said the remains were remarkably well preserved, probably because for centuries they remained under open space as the theatre fell out of use and was redeveloped as housing, becoming back gardens, a pub yard – the entrance was probably where the small Victorian pub, the Horse and Groom, a listed building which will be retained, now stands – and then a garage with an inspection pit which, unknown to its builders, almost laid bare the Tudor foundations.


[ . . . ]





Remains of Shakespeare’s Curtain Theatre found

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press 


LONDON (AP) — Archaeologists in London have discovered the remains of an Elizabethan theater where some of William Shakespeare's plays were first performed — a venue immortalized as “this wooden O” in the prologue to “Henry V.”


Experts from the Museum of London said Wednesday they had uncovered part of the gravel yard and gallery walls of the 435-year-old Curtain Theatre in Shoreditch, just east of London’s business district.


The remains — of a polygonal structure, typical of 16th-century theaters — were found behind a pub on a site marked for redevelopment.


The Curtain opened in 1577 and was home to Shakespeare’s company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, from 1597 until the Globe Theatre was built across the river two years later.


[ . . . ]


The Lord Chamberlain’s Men decamped in 1599 to the Globe, the theater they’d built using timbers smuggled from the original Theatre.


The Curtain survived as a theater at least until the 1620s, making it the longest-lived of London’s Elizabethan playhouses.


Museum archaeologists plan further excavation of the Curtain later this year, and a real estate company redeveloping the site said it intends to preserve the remains.


The Theater and the Curtain were London’s first successful playhouses — previously, plays had been staged in inn yards and other makeshift spaces. There is evidence that an earlier venue, The Red Lion, was built outside the city in the 1560s but lasted only a few months.


Traces of several of the venues have survived. In 2008, archaeologists found remains of The Theater just down the road from the site of the Curtain.


On the south bank of the Thames, Shakespeare’s plays are staged in a reconstruction of the Globe playhouse built near the original site. Remains of The Rose, another Elizabethan venue, have also been found nearby.


All were built outside the city walls, free from regulation by civic leaders hostile to theaters and other disreputable entertainments.


Heather Knight, a senior Museum of London archaeologist, said that despite recent discoveries there is still much to learn about the Elizabethan theater.


“The late 16th century was a time of a theatrical arms race in London,” she said. “The proprietors of these building were making improvements to attract customers. So to have the chance to look at the earliest of these buildings (The Theater), and the one that had the longest life is a real opportunity.”


Jill Lawless can be reached at http://Twitter.com/JillLawless


Shorthand Example (Egan, Davidson)


The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0225  Tuesday, 5 June 2012


From:        Gabriel Egan <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         June 4, 2012 11:30:44 AM EDT

Subject:     Re: Shorthand Example (Egan, Davidson)


Gerald E. Downs presents a bunch of evidence that the manuscript of Robert Greene’s John of Bordeaux (Alnwick Castle Manuscript 507) was created by expansion of a stenographic recording made during a performance.


Downs says that he has been “preaching that a big ‘clinching textual example’ [of stenographic reproduction] does exist”. That is, Downs claims he has an example of a textual feature that can ONLY be explained by stenographic recording.  He then lists a lot of features of John of Bordeaux that point to stenographic recording, or perhaps memorial reconstruction. But he doesn’t identify any of them as the clinching textual example.


Downs says that Gabriel Egan “must disagree with [his] conclusion that the playtext is transcribed from stenographic notes”. Gabriel Egan doesn’t; Egan reviewed the article favourably saying that the claim was plausible but not proven, for want of a clinching textual example.


Gerald: which bit of evidence do you think clinches the argument? One example will do. Twenty-five non-clinching examples won’t.


Gabriel Egan


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