Verdi’s Shakespeare

How did a nineteenth-century Italian composer, devoid of English, come to fall in love with the sixteenth-century texts of a British bard, transforming three of the famous stage plays into mammoth, canonical operas (Macbeth, Othello, and Falstaff)? That’s the conundrum that Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Garry Wills unravels with a wealth of fascinating anecdotal research. Comparing and contrasting the two creators, Wills shows the affinity that underpinned their different styles of genius.

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