Verdi's Shakespeare by Garry Wills
Men of the Theater

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"Riveting . . . a double-barreled salvo that hits two bull's-eyes." —The New York Times Book Review

This dazzling study of the three operas that Giuseppe Verdi adapted from Shakespeare's plays takes readers on a wonderfully engaging journey through opera, music, literature, history, and the nature of genius. Verdi's Shakespeare explores the writing and staging of Macbetto (Macbeth), Otello (Othello), and Falstaff, operas by Verdi, an Italian composer who could not read a word of English but who adored Shakespeare. Delving into the fast-paced worlds of these men and the hands-on life of the stage that at once challenged them and gave flight to their brilliance, Wills, in his inimitable way, illuminates the birth of artistic creation.


About Garry Wills

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GARRY WILLS has written many acclaimed works and is a regular contributor to The New York Review of Books. He is professor emeritus of history at Northwestern University and lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Published October 13, 2011 by Penguin Books. 241 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Verdi's Shakespeare

Kirkus Reviews

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Just as Verdi “gave cosmic reach to Otello’s music,” writes the author, “he turns Falstaff into a force of nature, an earth-daimon.” Wills isn’t afraid to plumb the subterranean depths and the delicate infrastructure of these works.

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Publishers Weekly

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Opera aficionados will delight in Wills's (Outside Looking In) thoughtful, deeply rehearsed essays on Verdi's treatment of Shakespeare's plays.

Jul 18 2011 | Read Full Review of Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of t...

Washington Independent Review of Books

He examines four of Shakespeare’s plays (Macbeth, Othello and The Merry Wives of Windsor, and to a lesser extent Henry IV) and the three Verdi operas based on them (Macbetto, Otello and Falstaff) and shows their similarity while illustrating the demands of their different genres.

Oct 25 2011 | Read Full Review of Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of t...

Newcity Lit

Wills uses the lens of these three works to study Verdi’s life and work, and to bring us to a richer understanding of how deeply Verdi turns music into the food of love.

Apr 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Verdi's Shakespeare: Men of t...

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