February 11, 2008
Shostakovich's 1964 Hamlet Score Live in Concert
John Mauceri conducts the North Carolina Symphony
John Mauceri, Chancellor of the North Carolina School of the Arts and founding director of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, will lead the North Carolina Symphony and a group of actors in a groundbreaking adaptation of Shakespeare's timeless tragedy Hamlet on February 14, 8 pm, in Memorial Hall in Chapel Hill, NC, and on February 15 and 16, 8 pm, in Meymandi Concert Hall in Raleigh, NC.
Melding actors and orchestra, these concert performances mark the premiere of Dmitri Shostakovich's complete score written for the Russian director Grigori Kosintsev's 1964 film version of Hamlet. The entire score – approximately sixty minutes of music – is being performed, it is believed, for the first time ever.
"The genesis of these performances arose from a number of sources, " Mauceri says. "I have become fascinated with the possibility of removing two elements from the cinema – specifically the screen play and the musical score – and presenting them in a live theatrical situation, built around the musical score itself."
Mauceri has been known throughout his career for programs that fuse music and theatre.
The actors for these performances will include members, alumni and friends of the North Carolina School of the Arts Drama Program, under the direction of Gerald Freedman, the school's Dean of Drama.
"In partnering with me," Mauceri says, "director Gerald Freedman has adapted Shakespeare's text into a manageable length, making this performance edition something of a Hamlet tone poem, with words and music creating a drama to be performed by six actors and a symphony orchestra."
Mauceri sought and received permission to use Shostakovich's film score in this way from Madame Irina Shostakovich, the composer's widow.
The North Carolina Symphony has scheduled the week leading up to the concerts as the "Shostakovich and Hamlet Festival," featuring various events from February 11 through 16.
For further information, contact the North Carolina Symphony at (919) 733-2750 or visit the website.