The Merchant of Venice

World premiere

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.

Fur­ther performances
21 July – 11 a.m.
28 July – 11 a.m.

Review in Ger­man (click on the pic­ture below to down­low PDF file)

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