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Sunday Afternoon at the Opera - Shakespeare: The Merchant of Venice

10/21/2012 1:00 pm
10/21/2012 4:30 pm


Host Keith Brown writes:

Spoken word drama lies within my broad definition of lyric theater programming, and that would certainly include the plays of William Shakespeare. Thanks to donor Suzanne Cohen I have had several more recordings of them to broadcast in recent months.
The Merchant of Venice (1596) is an early comedic work of the Bard's, written presumably in the same year as the history play King John, but it shows us that he was by this time no mere apprentice at his craft. It possesses a wealth of the highest poetic verse. And the unforgettable characters of the drama! Think of the noble and tragic conception of the Jew Shylock! His humanity is in another dimension beyond his counterpart Barabas in Christopher Marlowe's The Jew of Malta (c. 1590).
This performance of The Merchant of Venice was recorded in 1958, complete and uncut, using the text of The New Shakespeare Edition, edited by John Dover Wilson. The Marlowe Society and Professional Players, directed by John Rylands, performed the play in recording studio as paert of Decca's complete edition of Shakespeare's plays on stereo vinyl disc. This play was issued in a four LP boxed set.