On 23-24 April 2018, as part of the European project entitled Shakespeare in and beyond the Ghetto: Staging Europe across Cultures, the Institute of Theatre and Opera has organised an international conference entitled “Shakespeare in Opera. Rewritings and Productions of Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice”. The conference thus sets out to explore operatic versions of the two Shakespearean plays. Musicologists, drama historians and playwrights will analyse the contexts in which the musical productions of Shakespeare’s play developed. In fact, from the early 17th century to the present day, they have inspired librettists and composers.
During the conference, an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice will be staged. Adapted and performed by Davide Lorenzo Palla, the play will be directed by Riccardo Mallus, with a musical accompaniment composed and played by Tiziano Cannas Aghedu. Entitled Studio sul Mercante di Venezia, the work tells the story of one of the most famous characters in the history of theatre: the Jew Shylock who, from a potential torturer, becomes his own victim, ridiculed by justice. This production is the result of long preparatory work with Tournée da Bar, a young cultural enterprise that has successfully taken Shakespearean classics to unconventional venues throughout Italy.
The international conference is another stage in the three-year project Shakespeare in and beyond the Ghetto: Staging Europe across Cultures (2016-2018), chosen by the European Commission in a 2016 call for proposals for Creative Europe Culture Cooperation Projects. In addition to Ca’ Foscari University, Venice, and the Fondazione Giorgio Cini, the international partners supporting the project include Warwick University and Queen Mary University of London (United Kingdom), Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich (Germany) and the Teatrul Municipal Tony Bulandra Targoviste (Romania).
Giulietta e Romeo, music by Riccardo Zandonai, libretto by Arturo Rossato, Edizioni Ricordi, Milan 1922. Drawing by Leopoldo Metlicovitz.