Musica Aperta

Six degrees of Hamlet

Productions

Six Degrees of Hamlet

Notes on Shakespeare. An original production of Musica Aperta

Six Degrees of Hamlet was presented at the Shakespeare Theatre as a part of the 2007 Washington Shakespeare Festival. In this show, Musica Aperta puts a new spin on Shakespeare’s greatest play. The performance features chamber, instrumental and vocal music from more than a dozen composers who were inspired by the play. The production takes a prismatic look at Hamlet’s relationship with Ophelia, refracting it through the interactions of an Elizabethan clown and a modern-day janitor who meet on stage by strange coincidence.  Their exploration into the twists and turns of Hamlet and Ophelia’s romance triggers a wild deconstruction of the play that draws on an eclectic mix of “Hamlet”-inspired music from the last four centuries.

The audience experiences Hamlet’s journey by way of dance, spoken text (both Elizabethan and modern), and music from composers as diverse as William Byrd, Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, and John Cage.

“The role of music is open-ended and solid contributions from the musicians, actors and dancers made “ Six Degrees” equally fulfilling for veteran concertgoers and first-timers”
The Washington Post, 2007

The Company

Part I

Toward High Tide

Prelude “Ophelia” by Natalie Merchant

Scene 1 “Good Night” excerpt from movements 1 & 2, by Henryk Górecki

Scene 2 “How Should I your True Love Know” melody attributed to William Byrd

Scene 3 “Ophelia” by John Cage

Scene 4 “Fourth Song of Ophelia” from Hamlet, incidental music Op.77, by Sergei Prokofiev

Scene 5 “Entr’acte and Melodrame” from Hamlet, incidental music Op. 67a by Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

Scene 6 “The Mousetrap” from Hamlet: A Shakespeare Scenario, by William Walton, and “Duel and Death of Hamlet” excerpts from Hamlet, film score, Op. 116, by Dmitri Shostakovich

Part 2

Toward Low Tide

Scene 6 “Marcia funebre” from Hamlet, incidental music Op. 67a, by Piotr Ilyitch Tchaikovsky

Scene 5 “Soliloquy” from Hamlet: A Shakespeare Scenario, by William Walton

Scene 4 “La Mort d'Ophelie” by Hector Berlioz

Scene 3 “Death of Ophelia” excerpts from Hamlet, film score, Op. 116, by Dmitri Shostakovich

Scene 2 “Ophelia-Lieder” op. 67,” by Richard Strauss

Scene 1 “Good Night” excerpt from movement 2, by Henryk Górecki

Postlude “Ophelia” by Natalie Merchant

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