Blackstone Audio is proud to present the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 2014 production of The Tempest, Shakespeare's magical romantic comedy, directed by Tony Taccone. This stunning work of audio theater, fully dramatized with performances by the OSF cast, is a must-listen.
A solo recording of Macbeth in an American dialect.
"Two households, both alike in dignity / In fair Verona, where we lay our scene...." A solo recording of Romeo and Juliet in an American dialect.
The Folger Shakespeare Library, home to the world's largest Shakespeare collection, brings Julius Caesar to life with this new full-length, full-cast dramatic recording of its definitive Folger Edition.
In Richard III, Shakespeare invites us on a moral holiday. The play draws us to identify with Richard and his fantasy of total control of self and domination of others. Not yet king at the start of the play, Richard presents himself as an enterprising villain as he successfully plans to dispose of his brother, Clarence. Richard achieves similar success in conquering the woman he chooses to marry. He carves a way to the throne through assassination and executions.
The Mercury Theatre on the Air, a radio series created by Orson Welles, presented adaptations of classic literary works. These were performed by actors from Welles' celebrated Mercury Theatre repertory company, with music composed or arranged by Bernard Herrmann.
Written in play form using Shakespeare's iambic pentameter and imitating much of his style and language, these little plays are an excellent introduction to the bard. Hamlet’s father, the king of Denmark, has died suddenly. But instead of grieving, his mother, Gertrude, has married the dead king’s brother, Claudius. One dark night Hamlet sees a ghost. It is his dead father, who claims he was murdered by Claudius, the new king. But did Hamlet really see a ghost, or did he just imagine it?
A full-cast BBC Radio 3 production of Shakespeare’s quick-witted summer tragedy. In a town full of hatred, where the streets ring with the Capulet-Montague feud and swords are too easily drawn, Romeo and Juliet find each other--and love--and never let go. In Shakespeare’s famous play, first performed in 1595, the warring Capulets and Montagues have been sworn to keep the peace on pain of death. When Capulet’s daughter, Juliet, meets Montague’s son, Romeo, at a masked ball, they immediately fall in love.
The sonnets are a collection numbering 154 poems dealing with themes such as the passage of time, love, beauty, and mortality. They were probably written over a long period of Shakespeare's life up until 1609, when they were first printed. The first 17 poems, traditionally referred to as the "procreation sonnets", are addressed to a young man urging him to marry and have children in order to immortalize his beauty by passing it on to his descendants.
Hamlet, Shakespeare's most popular, and perhaps most puzzling play, follows the form of a "revenge tragedy", in which the hero, Hamlet, seeks vengeance against his father’s murderer, his uncle Claudius, now the king of Denmark. Much of its fascination, however, lies in its uncertainties. This new full-cast recording - based on the most respected edition of Shakespeare's classic - expertly produced by the Folger Theatre, is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.
"A great play"
When Oberon, King of the Fairies, uses his magic upon four runaway lovers in a midsummer wood outside Athens, chaos ensues. Who really loves whom? Meanwhile, a band of well-meaning but bungling local actors have their rehearsal sabotaged by the mischievous Puck, who bewitches their leader, Bottom, and Titania, the Fairy Queen. The result is a lively and anarchic comedy which can only be resolved by an elaborate disentangling of spells.
"Shakespeare is rolling in his grave."
Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's most popular plays, is among the most powerful and influential tragedies in the English language. Promised a golden future as ruler of Scotland by three sinister witches, Macbeth murders the king in order to succeed to the throne. Tortured by his conscience and fearful of discovery, he becomes fatally enmeshed in a web of treachery and deceit.
The most iconic love story of all time, Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is an epic-scale tragedy of desire and revenge. Despite the bitter rivalry that exists between their families, Romeo Montague and Juliet Capulet have fallen madly in love. But when the long-running rivalry boils over into murder, the young couple must embark on a dangerous and deadly mission to preserve their love at any cost. An L.A. Theatre Works full-cast performance featuring Calista Flockhart as Juliet.
"Listening to Shakespeare is easier than reading"
Shakespeare's plays - whether a comedy like A Midsummer Night's Dream, a history like Henry IV, or a tragedy like Hamlet - are treasure troves of insight into our very humanity. These 36 lectures introduce you to Shakespeare's major plays from each of these three genres and explain the achievement that makes him the leading playwright in Western civilization.
"Connections across genres"
Experience Hamlet as a powerful full-cast drama with entertaining and enlightening commentary that explains what's what and who's who as the plot unfolds. To help you get the most out of Shakespeare, the narrator offers historical insights and background information, so you can enjoy the jokes, appreciate the references, and get a real sense of Shakespeare's world. The unabridged drama is also presented without commentary.
"Performance great; commentary lacking"
Distressed by his father's death and his mother's over-hasty remarriage, Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, is faced by a specter from beyond the grave bearing a grim message of murder and revenge. The young prince is driven to the edge of madness by his struggle to understand the situation he finds himself in and to do his duty. Many others, including Hamlet's beloved, the innocent Ophelia, are swept up in his tragedy.
Julius Caesar is one of Shakespeare’s most compelling Roman plays. The plot against Caesar and the infamous assassination scene make for unforgettable listening. Brutus, the true protagonist of the play, is mesmerizing in his psychological state of anguish, forced to choose between the bonds of friendship and his desire for patriotic justice.
"The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars"
In Romeo and Juliet, Shakespeare creates a tragic world in which two young people fall in love. It is not simply that their families disapprove; the Montagues and the Capulets are engaged in a blood feud. This play, set in an extraordinary world, has become the quintessential story of young love. This new full-cast recording - based on the most respected edition of Shakespeare's classic - expertly produced by the Folger Theatre, is perfect for students, teachers, and the everyday listener.
Shakespeare's works are among the greatest of humanity's cultural expressions and, as such, demand to be experienced and understood. But, simply put, Shakespeare is difficult. His language and culture - those of Elizabethan England - are greatly different from our own, and his poetry, thick with metaphorical imagery and double meanings, can be hard to penetrate.
"understanding the Bard"
Here is the full-cast production of Shakespeare's classic love story, fully dramatized from the complete text, and starring Michael Sheen as Romeo and Kate Beckinsale as Juliet.
"Sound Quality is the only drawback"
King Leontes of Sicilia is seized by sudden and terrible jealousy of his wife Hermione, whom he accuses of adultery. He believes the child Hermione is bearing was fathered by his friend Polixenes, and when the baby girl is born he orders her to be taken to some wild place and left to die. Though Hermione's child escapes death, Leontes' cruelty has terrible consequences. Loss paves the way for reunion, and life and hope are born out of desolation and despair.
"Lovely story with great voice casting"
In Othello, Shakespeare creates powerful drama from a marriage between the exotic Moor Othello and the Venetian lady Desdemona. Shakespeare builds many differences into his hero and heroine, including race, age, and cultural background. Yet most audiences believe the couple’s strong love would overcome these differences were it not for Iago, who sets out to destroy Othello.
In A Midsummer Night's Dream, Shakespeare stages the workings of love in unexpected ways. In the woods outside Athens, two young men and two young women sort themselves into couples - but not before they form first one love triangle, and then another. The king and queen of fairyland, Oberon and Titania, battle over custody of an orphan boy. Oberon uses magic to make Titania fall in love with a weaver named Bottom, in an effort to distract Titania from the custody battle.
In the world's most celebrated and lyrical love story, the sublime devotion of two young lovers transcends their earthly fate. The noble Veronese houses of Montague and Capulet are locked in a bitter feud. When Romeo (a Montague) and Juliet (a Capulet) fall in love, they are swept up in a series of violent events and cruel twists of fortune. Despite the passion and innocence of their love, they fall victim to the enmity between their families, and their story ends in tragedy.
BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard.
Sir Ian McKellen, fresh from his performance as Gandalf in Lord of the Rings, is Prospero, and heads a strong cast in Shakespeare’s last great play. The wronged duke raises a tempest to shipwreck his old opponents on his island so that he can ensure justice is done. With Emilia Fox as Miranda, Scott Handy in the pivotal role of the sprite Ariel, and Ben Owukwe as Caliban.
"Great Story, audio needs a little tweaking"
Hamlet, which dates from 1600-1601, is the first in Shakespeare's great series of four tragedies. In writing this extraordinary play, Shakespeare effectively re-invented tragedy after an interval of roughly 2,000 years - you would have to go back to the Greek dramatists of fifth century Athens to find anything of comparable depth and maturity. This production features the voice of Anton Lesser as Hamlet along with a full cast.