“How silver-sweet sound lovers' tongues by night, Like softest music to attending ears!”
Shakespeare’s star-cross’d lovers have inspired composers for centuries, but there’s still nothing to quite match Prokofiev’s great Soviet ballet-score: Romeo and Juliet retold in music that’s as sharp as a rapier and as tender as a kiss.
It’s a true 20th century classic, and on the day that marks both the exact 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the traditional date of his birth, we could hardly celebrate the bard with anything else. But we haven’t stopped there, BBC Radio 3 has commissioned five of the freshest young talents amongst Manchester composers each to write music for one of Shakespeare’s plays, and we’ve invited Andrew Gourlay, one of our brightest young conductors, to give the world premieres.
“So all my best is dressing old words new…”
Preview, 6.30pm: Michael Symmons Roberts hosts a debate on the place of music in the work of Shakespeare.