The Merchant of Venice
Opera in three acts and an epilogue by André Tchaikowsky
Libretto by John O’Brien after the play by William Shakespeare
In English with German surtitles
Premiere on 18 July 2013 – 7.30 p.m.
Duration 3 hours, interval after Act 2
William Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice is a play about love and money, mercy and law. The play was turned into an opera by André Tchaikowsky (1935–1982), a Polish-born composer who emigrated to Great Britain. He wrote the opera in 1970s and 80s, but it has never been performed. The Bregenz Festival will give the world premiere of The Merchant of Venice on 18 July 2013, thus continuing its series of world premiere at the Festspielhaus.
Set in Venice during the Renaissance, the drama centres on Bassanio, a young nobleman who would like to court the beautiful Portia but doesn‘t have the money to travel to her country estate, so he asks the merchant Antonio for help. Antonio‘s wealth is tied up in maritime trade but he offers to procure the sum Bassanio needs from the Jewish money lender Shylock. Shylock hates Antonio for being so contemptuous in his treatment of Jews, and therefore stipulates that if the debt is not repaid within three months, the penalty will be a pound of Antonio‘s own flesh…
Filmed in 2005 in a lavish adaptation with Hollywood stars like Al Pacino, Jeremy Irons and Joseph Fiennes, Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, first staged in 1605, doesn‘t dwell on Shylock’s Jewishness or his usury. Instead it focuses on his merciless „insistence on the letter of the law“, as Karl Marx put it. His blind intransigence is the cause of his undoing at the climax of the drama.
21 July – 11 a.m.
28 July – 11 a.m.
Review in German (click on the picture below to downlow PDF file)