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BALESTRI, Charles A. "English Neoclassicism and Shakespeare: A Study in Conflicting Ideas of Dramatic Form", Ph.D. diss. Yale, 1971.
BATE, Jonathan and Russell Jackson. Shakespeare: An Illustrated Stage History. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
CHRISTOUT, Marie-Françoise. Le Ballet de cour de Louis XIV, 1643-1672. Paris: Picard, 1967.
DOBSON, Michael. The Making of the National Poet: Shakespeare, Adaptation and Authorship, 1660-1769. Oxford: Clarendon, 1992.
DOWNES, John. Roscius Anglicanus. Ed. Montague Summers. New York: Blom, 1929.
GEWIRTZ, Arthur. Restoration Adaptations of Early Seventeenth-Century Comedies. Washington: UP of America, 1982.
GUFFEY, George R. "Politics, Weather, and the Contemporary Reception of the Dryden-Davenant Tempest " Studies in Literary Culture, 1660-1700 8 (1994): 1-9.
---. After The Tempest. Los Angeles: Augustan Reprint Society, 1969.
EDMOND, Mary. Rare Sir William Davenant. New York: St. Martin’s, 1987.
HOLDERNESS, Graham. Shakespeare Recycled: The Making of Historical Drama. New York and London: Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1992.
HOOK, Lucyle. "Shakespeare Improv’d, or A Case for the Affirmative." Shakespeare Quarterly 4 (1953): 289-99.
HUGHES, Derek. English Drama, 1660-1700. Oxford: Clarendon, 1996.
LANGBAINE, Gerard. An Account of the English Dramatick Poets (1691). 2 vols. Los Angeles: U of California, 1971 (facsimile).
NICOLL, Allardyce. Dryden as an Adapter of Shakespeare. Oxford: Oxford UP for the Shakespeare Association, 1922.
NOVAK Maximillian and George R. Guffey. The Works of John Dryden. Berkeley: U of California P, 1970.
ODELL, George C. D. Shakespeare from Betterton to Irving. 2 vols. London: Constable, 1921.
ORRELL John. The Human Stage: English Theatre Design, 1567-1640. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1988.
PRICE, Curtis. Henry Purcell and the London Stage. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1984.
---. Dido and Aeneas. New York: Norton Critical Scores, 1986.
RICHARD, Kenneth R., "Changeable Scenery for Plays on the Caroline Stage." Theatre Notebook 23 (1968): 7-20.
SPENCER, Christopher. Five Restoration Adaptations of Shakespeare. Urbana: U of Illinois P, 1965.
SPENCER, Hazelton. Shakespeare Improved: The Restoration Versions in Quarto and on the Stage. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard UP, 1927.
STYAN, J. L. Restoration Comedy in Performance. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986.
TAYLOR, Gary. Reinventing Shakespeare: A Cultural History from the Restoration to the Present. New York: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1989.
WALKING, Andrew R. "Politics and the Restoration Masque: The Case of Dido and Aeneas." Culture and Society in the Stuart Restoration: Literature, Drama, History. Ed. Gerald MacLean. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1995. 52-69.
WALLS, Peter. Music in the English Courtly Masque, 1604-1640. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996.
WHEELER, David. "Eighteenth-Century Adaptations of Shakespeare and the Example of John Dennis." Shakespeare Quarterly 36 (1985): 438-49.
WILLEMS, Michèle. La Genèse du mythe shakespearien, 1660-1780. Paris: PUF, 1979.
WILSON, John Harold. The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Restoration Drama. Columbus: Ohio State U, 1928.
Gary Taylor asserts that, "An educated reader or spectator in 1660 could be expected to know only three things at most about Shakespeare's life: that he was an actor, that he had been born in Stratford, and that he was poorly educated by the standards of Restoration high culture. [...] Notably, all of this information could be gleaned from the 1623 folio or its 1632 reprint, and all of it came from or was confirmed by Ben Jonson." Reinventing Shakespeare 12. Deference towards the Bard in the paratexts of later adaptations, 1700-1703, attests to the success of the adaptations from 1660 to 1700.
The word used by Dryden for this type of production, a mixture of drama and operatic sequences.
The music for which is now lost.
See Hook, "Affirmative," and Wheeler, "Dennis." In favor of the adapters, Dobson asserts, "our own reliance on editions of the play which provide explanatory glosses on precisely the sentences which [Davenant’s Macbeth] paraphrases should make us hesitate before condemning Davenant for giving his audiences a Macbeth they could readily understand" ("Improving on the Original: Actresses and Adaptations," Bate and Jackson, Illustrated 56).
"Shakespeare was widely regarded as not only the oldest but the most outdated of the pre-war playwrights, his writing unfashionably prone to elaborate metaphor and his cast lists inelegantly liable to include punning rustics" (Illustrated 49).
J. L. Styan suggests that, "There is no reason to doubt that the playwrights, like the actors, aimed their wit at the highest social level of the house, indeed, at the better-paying part of the audience" (Restoration Comedy 7). However, it is interesting to note that, during the Interregnum, as the large theaters had been either closed or torn down, theater-goers again mixed in older playhouses such as the Red Bull (Edmond, Rare 122).
Taylor writes, "[The companies] competed with each other in advertising their credentials as reincarnations of past dramatic glory" (14). Also see Holderness, Recycled, on adapting to regain lost social cohesion, 116.
It should be remembered that Davenant’s 1656 First Days Entertainment at Rutland-House, by Declamations and Musick: after the manner of the Ancients, set in Athens, was in itself in part an argument in favor of opera, with Diogenes and Aristophanes leading the debate. This would be followed in August of the same year by his Siege of Rhodes.
"I am no great admirer," wrote Saint-Évremond, "of comedies in music such as nowadays are in request. I confess I am not displeased with their magnificence; the machines have something that is surprising, the music in some places is charming; the whole together seems wonderful. But it […] is very tedious, for where the mind has so little to do, there the senses must of necessity languish" ("On Opera," 1676). Shadwell deplored the "trappings and ornaments of Nonsense" in plays (preface to The Humorists, 1671); Buckingham mocked, "For Dances, Flutes, Italian Songs, and rime / May keep up sinking Nonsence for a time, / But that will fail, which now so much o’re rules, / And sence no longer will submit to fools" ("Essay Upon Poetry," 1682). At the end of the period Lord Lansdowne wrote of "the varnish and the dawb of show" (epilogue, The Jew of Venice, 1702).
One should note however that Fletcher’s Prophetess was given in an operatic adaptation by Betterton and Purcell (under the tile of Dioclesian, 1690), and was only relatively successful. See Price, London Stage, 272-73. Downes does not write of it as a total loss, however: "The Prophetess, or Dioclesian an Opera, wrote by Mr. Betterton; being set out with Costly Scenes, Machines and Cloaths: The Vocal and Instrumental Musick, done by Mr. Purcel; and Dances by Mr. Priest; it gratify’d the Expectation of Court and City; and got the Author great Reputation" (Roscius 42). J. H. Wilson censors this type of endeavor but also points out the operatic quality of the original play: "The Prophetess was altered by Betterton in 1690 to an opera, with the addition of music and the enhancing of spectacular scenes. Usually when a good play was transformed into an opera the result was deplorable to say the least. The Prophetess, however, was so near the operatic form in its original condition that few changes were needed" (Influence 47).
Pericles’ resemblance to Charles II made this play an obvious choice for Davenant when deciding with which plays he should set off the Duke’s company’s historic first season.
Dobson, National 59.
See Odell, Betterton to Irving, vol. 2, 200-01.
See Christopher Spencer’s introduction to Davenant’s Macbeth, where he lays out the argument for Davenant’s authorship of the Macbeth text published posthumously. For arguments concerning Davenant’s authorship of The Tempest (the 1670 text), see Mondi Raddidi, Davenant’s Adaptations of Shakespeare. It is to be remembered that a great deal of study has been dedicated to tracing the person responsible for the 1674 text of The Tempest, though authorship is most often attributed to Shadwell. For pro-Dryden authorship see the California edition of the text, as well as Hughes, English Drama 49-51.
See Guffey, "Politics" for other contemporary political references to be found in the revised text. Guffey also suggests that the on-stage assassination plot is removed to avoid a parallel with the Duke of York. Equivocal lines from Shakespeare (act IV, scene 3) concerning Malcolm’s character were cut by Davenant.
Guffey and Novak, The Works of John Dryden, vol. 10, 319.
Walking points out that witches often were used to represent Papists in Restoration literature ("Politics" 64).
Diary, December 28, 1666, January 7, 1667, and April 19, 1667.
Along with other evidence, the presence of the witches’ songs in Davenant’s Macbeth has led most scholars to believe that Davenant wrote his text from an early 17th-century manuscript of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. See Spencer’s reproduction of the text, 55-64. Also concerning the witches’ songs, Spencer argues that Shakespeare’s lines for the witches have direct relationships with the development of the play, whereas the later additions appear more "decorative" (68-71).
The text specifies "A dialogue within sung in parts."
This scene bears some resemblance to the parade of deadly sins before Faustus in Marlowe’s play.
The spelling is changed from Trinculo to Trincalo in the adaptations.
Replacing the "sarabande" noted in the stage directions of the 1667 play.
See Christopher Spencer’s discussion on the history of Macbeth; for The Tempest, see the California edition, vol. 10, 319-43. Michèle Willems remarks that "C’est pour l’année 1672 que Downes note la représentation, à Dorset Garden, de Macbeth, ‘in the nature of an opera,’ avec danses, chants et sorcières acrobates. Il s’agit toujours du Macbeth revu et corrigé par Davenant, au service duquel on a mis les machinistes du nouveau théâtre. The Tempest subit le même traitement. La pièce de Dryden et Davenant fut, nous dit Downes, transformée en opéra et présentée en 1673 ‘with new scenes and machines,’ ce qui lui valut la popularité que l’on sait. Downes note en particulier que ce fut un succès appréciable sur le plan financier" (Genèse 56).
See Orrell, Stage, on temporary, festive stages under Henry VIII and Southern on the development of Serlian stage settings.
The idea of sliding scenery was not exactly new. Richards in "Scenery" documents use of moveable scenery for the early private Caroline stage, though not its public counterpart: "We cannot, then, on the balance of available evidence, be confident that plays were not performed with changeable scenes on the stage of the Cockpit in Whitehall [...] [however,] until more substantial evidence is forthcoming, there is little good reason to assume that plays were so equipped in the Caroline private theaters, there is some reason to suppose that they were not" (18-20).
See Guffey’s edition containing both texts, 1969. The twenty-four violins mentioned are of course Charles II's emulation of Louis XIV: "The Front of the Stage is open’d, and the Band of 24 Violins, with the Harpsicals and Theorbo’s which accompany the Voices, are plac’d between the Pit and the Stage. While the Overture is playing, the Curtain rises, and discovers a new Frontispiece, joyn’d to the great Pylasters, on each side of the Stage. This Frontispiece is a noble Arch, supported by large wreathed Columns of the Corinthian Order; the wreathings of the Columns are beautifi’d with Roses wound round them, and several Cupids flying about them. On the Cornice, just over the Capitals, sits on either side a Figure, with a Trumpet in one hand, and a Palm in the other, representing Fame. A little farther on the same Cornice, on each side of a Compass-pediment, lie a Lion and a Unicorn, the Supporters of the Royal Arms of England. In the middle of the Arch are several Angels, holding the Kings Arms, as if they were placing them in the midst of that Compass-pediment. Behind this is the Scene, which represents a thick, Cloudy Sky, a very Rocky Coast, and a Tempestuous Sea in perpetual Agitation. This Tempest (suppos’d to be rais’d by Magick) has many dreadful Objects in it, as several Spirits in horrid shapes flying down amongst the Sailors, then rising and crossing in the Air. And when the Ship is sinking, the whole House is darken’d, and a shower of Fire falls upon ‘em. This is accompanied with Lightning, and several Claps of Thunder, to the end of the Storm."
Lully and Quinault’s Cadmus et Hermione was staged in 1673 in Paris, setting off the opera fury that would ensue. At Killigrew’s Theatre Royal, Ariane, ou Le Mariage de Bacchus was sung in French in January of 1674. Shadwell’s Psyché, modeled after Molière’s, was to be staged the following year. Masque production continued as well, with Crowne’s Calisto, which seems to have enjoyed court favor if one may believe Langbaine: "This Masque was writ at the Command of her present Majesty: and was rehearsed near Thirty times, all the Representations being follow’d by throngs of Persons of the greatest Quality, and very often grac’d with their Majesties and Royal Highnesses Presence" (Account, 92).
The opera was unfortunately staged in the midst of Monmouth’s attempt to overthrow James II. It was originally written to be the sung prologue to the semi-opera King Arthur but was expanded to a full-length opera for performance.
The adaptations in question were Dryden’s All for Love 1677, Shadwell’s The History of Timon of Athens, the Man-Hater (1678), Tate’s History of King Richard the Second (banned, 1680) and History of King Lear (1681), Ravenscroft’s Titus Andronicus; or, The Rape of Lavinia (1678), Otway’s Caius Marius (adaptation of Romeo and Juliet, 1679), Durfey’s Injured Princess (adaptation of Cymbeline, 1682), and Crowne’s Henry VI The First Part (banned, 1681). Julius Caesar was revived by Betterton in the late 1680s and enjoyed immense success, perhaps due to its presentation of republican ideals.
There is discussion as to whether all operatic productions were actually laudatory of the monarchy; Dioclesian is a case in point as presented by Price in chapter 6 of London Stage. Hughes disagrees, English Drama 371. Concerning Dido and Aeneas, see Walking, "Politics."
See the modified reprint of A. Margaret Laurie’s thesis in Curtis Price, ed., Dido and Aeneas, 45-46. It should be noted that Dryden’s attempt at honoring the restoration of Charles II through the King Arthur tale came too late as mentioned above; the king died the year Dryden had planned to stage his semi-opera, and general dislike of James II made it no longer appropriate. King Arthur without the prologue would finally be staged in 1691, with music composed by Purcell, but rather than glorifying the monarchy, this semi-opera seems to glorify a lost noble "England."
It may be wondered if and how deeply Purcell could have been influenced by the notion of speculative music that informed masque creations in the early part of the century in England. See Peter Walls, Music.
Charles II was present at the opening of this play. See Marie-Françoise Christout, Ballet 72-77, 205-11 (facsimile of the text).
The preface of the 1692 edition contains, amongst other points, "a plea for the encouragement of native opera" (Spencer, Improved 319). Downes writes of the play, "The Fairy Queen, made into an Opera, from a Comedy of Mr. Shakespears: This in Ornaments was Superior to the other Two [King Arthur and Dioclesian]; especially in Cloaths, for all the Singers and Dancers, Scenes, Machines and Decorations, all most profusely set off; and excellently perform’d, chiefly the Instrumental and Vocal part Compos’d by the said Mr. Purcel, and Dances by Mr. Priest. The Court and Town were wonderfully satisfy’d with it; but the Expenses in setting it out being so great, the Company got very little by it" (Roscius, 42-43).
The 1692 text was expanded in 1693 to complete the perfect regularity of one operatic sequence per act, towards the end of each act. In the preface to the 1692 edition, Elkanah Settle writes, "’Tis known to all who have been any considerable time in Italy, or France, how Opera’s are esteem’d among ‘em. That France borrow’d what she has from Italy, is evident from the Andromede and Toison D’or of Monsieur Corneille, which are the first in the kind they ever had, on their publick Theaters; they being not perfect Opera’s, but Tragedies, with singing, Dancing, and Machines interwoven with ‘em, after the manner of an Opera. They gave ‘em a taste first, to try their Palates, that they might the better Judge whether in time they would be able to digest an entire Opera. And Cardinal Richelieu [...] introduced ‘em first at his own Expence, as I have been informed amongst ‘em."
Hughes calls this a part of the "comprehensiveness" that he argues is the message the dramatist (probably Betterton) wished to communicate (Drama 371). However, the fact that the ducal marriage is removed from the play seems to challenge this interpretation.
It must be said, however, that by making some simple textual comparisons, it is clear he had both texts, Shakespeare’s and Davenant’s, in hand when writing his play.
In the original play, Isabella’s speeches, designed to soften Angelo’s heart, were the catalyst in setting off Angelo’s desire, whereas in the adaptation the operatic interludes are mentioned from the beginning as a ploy by Escalus to bring under control Angelo’s over-zealous governing:
Baltazar: How can this Sow’r Governour be pleas’d?
With Musick, Shew, and Opera’s; those
Seldom please, where Cruelty presides:
And yet, since I have come into the Palace,
I’ve heard the Tuning of various Instruments,
And the trelling of soft Melodious Voices.
Lucio: Those the Good Escalus prepar’d,
In hopes to melt, and sweeten his Sour Temper;
That when the Power of Harmony prevails,
His soul may relish Mercy, more than Justice.
Incidentally, the original order of the scenes of Dido and Aeneas—with its encomiastic prologue—would seem to confound Walker’s thesis that the opera allegorizes James II’s relationship with England through the Aeneas-Dido story. The allegory of William and Mary’s accession to power would need to end the opera, not open it; yet the new order of scenes in Measure may indicate a revision of this. Walker writes, "Dido and Aeneas presents a history of the process by which James II’s pro-Catholic policies had alienated his subjects and appeared to be threatening the destruction of England’s constitution and the rule of law. The masque investigates and comments upon this political situation through a searching psychological examination of the relationship between the lovers Aeneas and Dido which provides an allegorical commentary on James’s policies in England. […] here, Aeneas can be read as James, while Dido can be seen to represent England" ("Politics," 58). Walker does not mention the prologue at all in his text.Top of page