Shakespeare’s Globe and Glyndebourne collaborate on one-off Hamlet event

Shakespeare’s Globe, in partnership with Glyndebourne, present Hamlet and the Test of Time, an evening examining the enduring appeal of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. In a one-off event hosted by Melvyn Bragg on Thursday 11 May, author Ian McEwan and actor Simon Russell Beale join composer Brett Dean, Shakespeare scholar, Ann Thompson and Executive Producer of the Globe, Tom Bird to analyse the popular fascination with Hamlet, both the play and the protagonist.

This summer Glyndebourne will stage a new opera of Hamlet by composer Brett Dean and librettist Matthew Jocelyn. Hamlet and the Test of Time will anticipate this world premiere, and look at the reinterpretation of Hamlet through different artistic media.

Hamlet is not only among the most regularly performed of all plays in the modern era, but has been realised in numerous alternative versions, from over 50 films to a dozen operas. It seems that the hold of the tortured Danish prince over our imaginations is as powerful now as it ever has been.

Panelists for Hamlet and the Test of Time include Brett Dean, composer of Glyndebourne’s new opera; Ian McEwan, author of Nutshell, a novel narrated by a character similar to Hamlet, who observes the familiar narrative unfold while still a foetus in his mother’s womb; and Simon Russell Beale, who memorably performed the title role at the National Theatre in 2000.

Also taking part are Ann Thompson, Emeritus Professor of English at King’s College, London, and co-editor of the Arden Shakespeare editions of Hamlet; and Tom Bird, Executive Producer of  Shakespeare’s Globe, and producer of the unprecedented Hamletworld tour, which, over a two-year period, staged the play in 197 countries.

In addition, there will be an in-focus discussion of the new opera, with cast principals and members of the creative team. An excerpt from the work will also be performed.

Brett Dean’s Hamlet opens at Glyndebourne on 11 June, and runs in repertoire until 8 July. Dean comes to Glyndebourne following the huge success of his previous opera, Bliss, which premiered at Sydney Opera House in 2010, and is joined by fellow Australian Neil Armfield as Director.

Hamlet will be conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, former music director at Glyndebourne and principal conductor of the London Philharmonic. The cast for the premiere production includes of some of the finest singing actors of the moment. British tenor and Glyndebourne favourite Allan Clayton performs the title role, alongside. British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly as Gertrude. Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan, a strong advocate of contemporary music, will make her Glyndebourne debut as Ophelia.