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.

Australian composer Brett Dean talks about on his new opera, Hamlet, for the Glyndebourne Festival, which is one of the most eagerly anticipated operatic premieres of the year. BBC Radio 4 Front Row –

But Hamlet’s vengeance vies with the question: is suicide a morally valid deed in an unbearably  painful world?

Brett Dean’s music offers great brilliance. Sparely but imaginatively scored .. Dean is rare among contemporary opera composers in understanding how to present people singing together – Rupert Christiansen (Daily Telegraph)

Brett Dean’s colourful, energetic, witty and richly lyrical music expertly captures the modernity of this timeless tale, while Matthew Jocelyn’s libretto is pure Shakespeare.


A cast of some of the finest singing actors of the moment will bring Hamlet to life on the big screen. British tenor and Glyndebourne favourite Allan Clayton will play Hamlet. British mezzo-soprano Sarah Connolly will play Gertrude and Canadian soprano Barbara Hannigan will make her Glyndebourne debut as Ophelia. Legendary British bass John Tomlinson plays The Ghost of Old Hamlet.

Brett Dean’s music is many-layered, full of long, clear vocal lines propelled by repeated rhythmic figures in the orchestra, and has moments of delicate beautyErica Jeal (Guardian)

Hamlet will be conducted by Vladimir Jurowski, Glyndebourne’s former Music Director Neil Armfield has directed numerous productions for Opera Australia, including their first full-length presentation of The Ring Cycle. He is the director of the acclaimed films Candy and Holding the Man.

Sung in English with English supertitles.

Hamlet at Depot on Thursday 6th July. CLICK HERE for more info.