Be part of a major new operatic work – join us for the world premiere of Brett Dean’s new opera based on Shakespeare’s best-known tragedy.
Best availability on 13 June and 27 June.
A story of betrayal, revenge and madness
To be, or not to be. This is Hamlet’s dilemma, and the essence of Shakespeare’s most famous and arguably greatest work, given new life in operatic form in this original Glyndebourne commission.
Thoughts of murder and revenge drive Hamlet when he learns that it was his uncle Claudius who killed his father, the King of Denmark, then seized his father’s crown and wife.
But Hamlet’s vengeance vies with the question: is suicide a morally valid deed in an unbearably painful world?
‘The themes of life and death, love and betrayal have opera written all over them.’
—Brett Dean, Composer
Shakespeare’s Hamlet reconfigured for a world premiere
Dean’s colourful, energetic, witty and richly lyrical music expertly captures the modernity of Shakespeare’s timeless tale, while also exploiting the traditional operatic elements of arias, ensembles and choruses.
Matthew Jocelyn’s inspired libretto is pure Shakespeare, adhering to the Bard’s narrative thread but abridging, reconfiguring and interweaving it into motifs that highlight the main dramatic themes: death, madness, the impossibility of certainty and the complexities of action.
Sung in English with English supertitles
You can see Hamlet live in cinemas on Thursday 6 July.
Enrich your experience
Win a timeless record of your Glyndebourne experience
To celebrate the world premiere, every Hamlet ticket booker will be entered into a prize draw to win a painting of their visit by acclaimed artist Julian Sutherland-Beatson. Full details here.
Hamlet – creating a world premiere, Thursday 6 July.
Join us for a bite-sized overview of the opera from a musical expert on Sunday 11 June.
Hamlet is generously supported by The Monument Trust
World premiere supported by a Syndicate of Individuals
Cast and creative team
Composer Brett Dean
Librettist Matthew Jocelyn
Conductor Vladimir Jurowski
Director Neil Armfield
Set Designer Ralph Myers
Costume Designer Alice Babidge
Movement Director Denni Sayers
Lighting Designer Jon Clark
Hamlet Allan Clayton
Gertrude Sarah Connolly
Ophelia Barbara Hannigan
Claudius Rod Gilfry
Polonius Kim Begley
Ghost of Old Hamlet John Tomlinson
Horatio Jacques Imbrailo
Laertes David Butt Philip
Rosencrantz Rupert Enticknap
Guildenstern Christopher Lowrey
London Philharmonic Orchestra
The Glyndebourne Chorus
By kind permission of Boosey & Hawkes Publishers Ltd.
Dates and times
Date Start Long interval Finish Price band Sun 11 June 4.45pm 6.25pm 8.45pm 4 Tue 13 June 5.40pm 7.20pm 9.40pm 4 Sat 17 June 5.40pm 7.20pm 9.40pm 4 Wed 21 June 5.00pm 6.40pm 9.00pm 4 Sat 24 June 5.00pm 6.40pm 9.00pm 4 Tue 27 June 5.40pm 7.20pm 9.40pm 4 Fri 30 June 5.40pm 7.20pm 9.40pm 4
Date Start Long interval Finish Price band Thu 6 July 5.00pm 6.40pm 9.00pm 4
King Hamlet has died, mourned by his son, Prince Hamlet of Denmark. The King’s funeral is followed fast upon by the marriage of his widow Gertrude, to his brother, Claudius. Hamlet is deeply disturbed by his father’s untimely death and his mother’s ‘o’er hasty marriage’, a state aggravated by the appearance of King Hamlet’s ghost, informing Hamlet that he was in fact murdered by his brother, now husband to Gertrude and King of Denmark.
The dead King asks that his son revenge his death by killing Claudius.
Unsure as to what to do whilst adopting erratic behaviour, Hamlet rejects his soul-mate and lover Ophelia, and dismisses his former classmates, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, summoned by Claudius to Elsinore to help discover the cause of Hamlet’s apparent madness.
A group of players arrive in Elsinore. Hamlet asks them to perform a scene mimicking the murder of King Hamlet by his brother. Claudius reacts violently to the performance, proof in Hamlet’s eyes of his stepfather’s guilt. Called to his mother’s chamber to explain his actions, Hamlet comes upon Claudius deep in prayer, yet finds himself unable to kill him.
Discovering Polonius, Ophelia’s father, spying on him in his mother’s chamber, Hamlet kills him, proceeding then to berate his mother for her shamelessness and debauchery. His father’s ghost appears, reminding Hamlet of his initial mission to revenge his death.
Laertes, Polonius’s son, returns to Elsinore to avenge his father’s death, threatening Claudius and his kingship. Claudius manages to allay Laertes’ violence by convincing him that Hamlet is the guilty one: together, Claudius and Laertes conspire to kill him.
Ophelia appears, apparently driven mad by Hamlet’s rejection and the death of her father. This only serves to harden Laertes’ resolve for vengeance, as does, moments later, Ophelia’s death – she has drowned in a nearby stream.
Hamlet and friend Horatio turn up unwittingly at Ophelia’s funeral, and upon learning of herdeath, Hamlet provokes Laertes.
Through the intermediary of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, and according to the plan concocted with Claudius, Laertes challenges Hamlet to a duel. Hamlet accepts the challenge.
Many deaths ensue.
By Matthew Jocelyn
© Lambis Stratoudakis