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Met’s new ‘Hamlet’: To be or not to be true to the text

NEW YORK (AP) — Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, all right, but not as Shakespeare imagined. No Norwegian prince arrives to seize the Danish throne. And to be or not to be is not the question.

So it goes in the latest operatic adaptation of the most famous play in the English language. “Hamlet,” with music by Brett Dean and libretto by Matthew Jocelyn, opens at the Metropolitan Opera on Friday, the final new production in the company’s comeback-from-COVID season.

This is “Hamlet” as you’ve never heard it, set to an orchestral score that includes an accordion, tinfoil, plastic bottles, sandpaper and stones knocked together.

And Jocelyn’s version of the play sounds at times as if he’d taken the various texts that survive and put them through a Mixmaster, even…


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