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William Shakespeare’s «A Midsummer Night’s Dream» in the History of Music Theater

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Ulrike Küpper

William Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Nights Dream (1595) has survived and flourished as a drama for over five centuries. The work has also enjoyed immense popularity in music. Its lyrical verse, its constant use of musical terminology, and its references to and deployment of songs and dances have served to attract major composers over more than four centuries. The book compares their libretti with the original text, and analyzes how alterations in text and structure have affected the nature of Shakespeare’s original play – its plot, characterization and lyricism. The study also deals with the constituent elements of music theater, including instrumental music, and, to a lesser extent, with artistic and cinematic representations of Shakespeare’s comedy.