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Music: Special Topics: Shakespeare and Music

Shakespeare and Music

William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) is a well-known English playwright, poet and actor. His works have inspired many composers to transform his plays into another kind of performing arts. The Music Collection on 1/F Main Library Old Wing has a collection of Shakespeare and Music on scores, CDs and DVDs.   



Thomas Adès (1971 - ) and Shakespeare

The Tempest (2004)

Opera in three acts 

Libretto by Meredith Oakes, based on Shakespeare's play (1610 or 1611) 

The tempest: an opera in three acts, op. 22 (2003-04)

London : Faber Music, 2007.

Music 782.1 A233 t2 score

Vocal score with piano



The tempest

Berlin : Deutsche Grammophon, 2013.

Music 782.1 A233 t2 A DVD



The tempest : an opera in three acts

London : Faber Music, 2004.

Music 782.10268 A233 t2   




Samuel Barber (1910 - 1981) and Shakespeare

Antony and Cleopatra (1966)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Franco Zeffirelli after Shakespeare's play (1606–7)

Antony and Cleopatra:opera in three acts

New York: G. Schirmer, 1976

Music 782.1 B23 a63 score

Vocal score with piano

Two scenes from Antony and Cleopatra : for soprano and


 New York : G. Schirmer, 1968

Music 782.1 B23 a63 S score


Antony and Cleopatra

N.Y. : New World Records, 1984

Music780 B23 a6 B CD

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869) and Shakespeare

Béatrice et Bénédict (1862)

Opera in two acts

His own libretto after Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing 

Béatrice et Bénédict : opéra-comique en deux actes imité de Shakespeare - Beatrice und Benedict : Opéra-comique in zwei Akten nach Shakespeare

Kassel : Bärenreiter, 1983

Music 782.1 B515 b3 score    

Vocal score with piano     

Béatrice et Bénédict     

Kassel : Bärenreiter, 1980

MuR 780.81 B515  v3  score       

Full score                                                                                                                          

Béatrice et Bénédict 

[Netherlands] : Philips, 1978

Mus X 780 B515 b3 D CD + booklet                                                                                                     

Benjamin Britten (1913 – 1976) and Shakespeare

A Midsummer night’s dream (1960)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by the composer and Peter Pears after Shakespeare's play (1594–5)

A midsummer night's dream: opera in three acts, op.64 

London : Boosey & Hawkes, 1960

Music 782.1 B86 m6 Bv score

Vocal score and piano

A midsummer night's dream: opera in three acts, op. 64

London : Boosey & Hawkes, 1960.

Music 782.1 B86 m6 score

Full Score   

A midsummer night's dream

England : Virgin Classics, 2005

Music 782.1 B86 m6 B5 DVD      

Charles Gounod (1818 - 1893) and Shakespeare

Roméo et Juliette (1867)

Opera in five acts

Libretto by Barbier and Carré, based on this Shakespeare tragedy (1594 – 5)  

Romeo and Juliet = opera in five  acts 

New York : G. Schirmer, 1925

Music 782.1 G71 r7 score

Vocal score and piano

Roméo et Juliette 

Hamburg : Deutsche  Grammophon, 2009

Music 782.1 G71 r7 D DVD

Otto Nicolai (1810 – 1849) and Shakespeare

The Merry Wives of Windsor (1849)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Salomon Hermann Mosenthal after Shakespeare's play [1597]

The merry wives of windsor:  an opera in three act

New York : Schirmer, 1958

Music 782.1 N63 m5   score 

Vocal score and piano                                                                                      

Aribert Reimann (1936 - ) and Shakespeare

Lear (1978)

Opera in 2 parts

based on Shakespeare’s play King Lear (1606 )

Lear : opera in two parts adapted  from William  Shakespeare

[Halle (Saale), Germany.] : Arthaus, 2015

Music 782.1 R363 l4 DVD                                                                                                                                        

Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868) and Shakespeare

Otello, ossia Il Moro di Venezia (1816)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Francesco Berio di Salsa after Shakespeare’s play Othello (The Moor of Venice

Otello : an opera in three acts for soli, chorus and orchestra

New  York : Kalmus, 198-

Music 782.1 R83 o8 K score     

Vocal score and piano                                                                                                        

Salvatore Sciarrino (1947 - ) and Shakespeare

Macbeth (2002)

Opera in three acts

His own libretto after Shakespeare's play (1605 – 6)

Macbeth : tre atti senza nome (2002)

Milano : Ricordi, [2008], c2001

Mus LSC 782.1 S416 m1 score

Solo voices and orchestra 

Stephen Storace (1762 – 1796) and Shakespeare

Gli equivoci (‘The Misunderstandings’ [The Comedy of Errors]) (1786)

Opera buffa in two acts

Libretto by Lorenzo da Ponte after Shakespeare’s play

Gli equivoci : opera buffa in two acts 

London : Stainer and Bell for the Musica Britannica Trust, 2007

MuR 780.82 MB 86  score  

Mixed voices and piano

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) and Shakespeare

Macbeth (1846-47)

Opera in four acts

based on Shakespeare's tragedy

Macbeth : opera in four acts

New York : G. Schirmer, 1961

Music 782.1 V48 m1 score  

vocal score and piano 


Chicago : University of Chicago Press ; Milano : Ricordi, 2005

MUR 780.81 v48 v1/10 score

Full score


[Germany] : Arthaus Musik, 2001

Music 782.1 V48 m1 R6 DVD

Othello (1887)

Opera in four acts

Libretto by Boito based on Shakespeare's tragedy Othello, the Moor of Venice (1604 – 5)

Otello : a lyric drama in 4 acts

New York : Belwin  Mills, 19 — 

Music 782.1 V48 o8  score   

Vocal score and piano 

Otello: dramma lirico in quattro atti 

Ratingen, Germany :TDK Mediactive, 2003        

Music 782.1 V48 o8 M DVD

Falstaff (The Three Jokes) (1893)

Opera in three acts

Libretto by Arrigo Boito after Shakespeare's The Merry Wives of Windsor (1600–1) and Henry IV, parts 1 and 2 (1597–8)

Falstaff :

lyric comedy in  three  acts 

New York : Schirmer, 1963

Music 782.1 V48 f1  score

Vocal score and piano


New York :  Dover, 1980

Music 782.1 V48 f1 D  score

Full score 


Munich : Arthaus Musik, 2001              

Music  782.1 V48 f1 A  DVD  


London : Decca, 1989

Music 780 V48 f1 D CD  

Orchestral works

Hector Berlioz (1803 – 1869) and Shakespeare

King Lear Overture, op. 4 (1831)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play (1606)

Harold in Italy: op. 16 ; King Lear overture, op. 4 ; The Roman carnival overture, op. 9

New York : Masterworks Portrait, c1991, p1952-1956

Music 780 B515 o6 CD  



Overture to King Lear : transcription for pianoforte solo by F. Liszt

London : Liszt Society Limited, 1987

MuR 780.81 L77 s v.8 score     



Roméo et Juliette. Dramatic symphony, op. 17 (1839)

for alto, tenor, and bass soloists, chorus, and orchestra, text by Émile Deschamps

Based on this Shakespeare tragedy (1594 – 5)

Roméo et Juliette

Kassel : Bärenreiter, 1990

MuR 780.81 B515 v18  score

Full score



Claude Debussy (1862 – 1918) and Shakespeare

King Lear Incidental music (two movements) (1904)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play (1606)


Le roi Lear ; Le diable dans le beffroi ; La chute de la Maison Usher

Paris, France: Durand, c2006.

MuR 780.81 D28 vVI/3  score  

Vocal score with piano


Edward Elgar (1857 – 1934) and Shakespeare

Falstaff Symphony study, op. 68 (1913)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play Henry IV

Falstaff : symphonic study in C minor

Borough Green : Novello, 1941.

Music 785.3 E41 f1 score    

Full score                                                         


Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) and Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Overture, op. 26 (1826)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Incidental music, op. 61 (1843)

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play (1594)


Sommernachtstraum. Overture

Midsummer night's dream, overture: op. 21

New York : Kalmus, 1930.

Music 785.3 M53 s6 K score

Full score


Symphonie No. 4 op.90 "Italiensiche" ; Ouverture "Die Hebriden" ("Die Fingalshöhle") op. 26 ;

Ein Sommernachtstraum opp. 21 & 61: Auszüge

Hamburg : Deutsche Grammophon, [1965]

Music 780 M53 o6 D CD  

Ein Sommernachtstraum = a midsummer night's dream, op. 61

New York : Kalmus, [19--]

Music 785.3 M53 s6 score

Full score




Musik zu Ein Sommernachtstraum von Shakespeare, op.61

Wiesbaden : Breitkopf & Härtel, 2000.

MuR 780.81 M53 vV/8  score  

Full score




Sergey Prokofiev (1891 – 1953) and Shakespeare

Romeo i Dzhulyetta (Romeo and Juliet) Ballet in a prologue, three acts, and an epilogue (1938)

Based on Shakespeare’s play (1594 – 5)

Prokofiev arranged three orchestral suites from the score: no. 1, op. 64b (1936), in seven movements;

no. 2, op. 64c (1937), in seven movements; no. 3, op. 101 (1946), in six movements.

Romeo i Dzhul'etta (Piano work)

Romeo and Juliet : ten pieces, op.75 : for solo piano

Boca Raton, FLa.: Masters Music Publications, 1994

Music 786.2 P96 r7  score   


Romeo i Dzhul′etta (Ballet). Suite, no. 1

Romeo and Juliet, suite no.1

Melville : Belwin Mills, [19--]

Music 785.3 P96 r7 s9 no1 score  

Full score   



Romeo i Dzhul′etta (Ballet). Suite, no. 2

Romeo and Juliet, suite no.2, op.64-ter

[Melville : Belwin Mills], [19--]

Music 785.3 P96 r7 s9 no2  score  

Full score

Romeo i Dzhul′etta (Ballet). Suite, no. 3

Romeo and Juliet, suite no.3 : suite from the ballet

[Melville] : Belwin Mills, [19--]

Music 785.3 P96 r7 s9 no3 score  

Full score



Henry Purcell (1659 – 1695) and Shakespeare

The Fairy Queen (1961), incidental music

Based on Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1594)


 The fairy queen / edited in 1903 by J.S. Shedlock

 London : Novello, c1968.

 Rev. ed. / by Anthony Lewis.       

 MuR: 780.81 P98 v.12 score 

 Vocal score



    The fairy queen

     Hamburg : Archiv Produktion, p1982

     Music 780 P985 f1 G2 CD   + booklet                                                                               


Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975) and Shakespeare

Hamlet op.32 (1932), incidental music to Shakespeare's tragedy for mezzo-soprano, baritone, female actor, male actor and small orchestra

King Lear op. 58a (1940), a stage production, incidental music for mezzo, baritone and orchestra

Based on Shakespeare play (1606)


Incidental music. Selections

Hamlet : 1932 production ; Hamlet : 1954 production ; King Lear : 1941 production

England : Signum Classics, 2004

Music 780 S55 i3 CD  



 Richard Strauss (1864 – 1949) and Shakespeare

Macbeth Symphonic poem Op. 23 (1886–8), revised in 1889–90

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play (1846-47)


Macbeth : symphonic poem, op.23

London : Eulenburg, 1932.

Music 785.3 S9 m1  score  

Full score



Pyotr Il′yich Tchaikovsky (1840 – 1893) and Shakespeare

Romeo i Dzhulyetta (Romeo and Juliet) Fantasy overture composed in 1869 and revised in 1870 and 1880

Based on this Shakespeare’s play (1594 – 5)


Romeo and Juliet (Fantasy Overture)

London : Eulenburg, 19--

Music 785.3 T24 r7 score  

Full score