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.
"Loved the voice actors"
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.
"Voice actors don't match the characters"
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 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.
"A MASTERPIECE OF SCHOLARSHIP AND DELIVERY"
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"
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.
"Great for Reading along to the Folger edition!"
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.
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.
"Reliving the past"
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.
"Shakespeare Made Easy"
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.
"Dramatized drama at its best..."
Not sure that a modernized movie-version of Hamlet is your goblet of tea? Hear Frank Muller, the preeminent narrator of the audiobook world, play every part in arguably the best audio version of Hamlet available.
For sustained dramatic intrigue and sophistication of plot, William Shakespeare's sonnets are at least the equal of his greatest plays. Throughout the centuries since their first publication in 1609, critics, psychologists and curiosity-seekers alike have pondered the nature of the poet's relationships with the mysterious young man, "Mr. W.H.", and the "ill-coloured" Dark lady.
In the years leading up to 1606, since the death of Queen Elizabeth and the arrival in England of her successor, King James of Scotland, Shakespeare's great productivity had ebbed, and it may have seemed to some that his prolific genius was a thing of the past. But that year, at age 42, he found his footing again, finishing a play he had begun the previous autumn - King Lear - then writing two other great tragedies, Macbeth and Antony and Cleopatra.
"Detailed and satisfying"
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"
Written in 1593, King Richard III is one of Shakespeare's earliest plays. This play differs from its predecessors, being amore structured piece, examining the development and motivations of a single character, Richard Duke of Gloucester, who will stop at nothing to gain control of the throne occupied by his brother Edward IV.
"Another NAXOS masterpiece!"
This shattering drama of isolation and loss is one of the greatest tragedies in world literature. King Lear of Britain has three daughters: the hard-hearted Goneril and Regan, and the good and gentle Cordelia. He determines to divide his kingdom between them, giving the largest share to she who can say she loves him the best. Lear's tragic lack of judgment and self-knowledge is paralleled by the blindness of the loyal Gloucester who is persuaded to reject his virtuous son, Edgar, in favor of the villainous Edmund.
"tragedy par excellence"
Three classic radio productions from the BBC archives starring Nigel Hawthorne, Miriam Margolyes, Geraldine McEwan and a host of celebrated acting talent. These three legendary plays, performed by some of the best-known theatrical actors of the 20th century, are the perfect way to commemorate England's greatest dramatist.
"If Music Be the Food of Love, Play On"
The noble Titus returns victorious to Rome bringing Tamora, Queen of the Goths as his captive. When one of Tamora's sons is condemned to die, she vows revenge, and, aided by the villainous Aaron, she exacts a terrible retribution, inaugurating a grim cycle of rape, murder, and cannibalism. This macabre, often brilliant tragedy comes from the earliest stage of Shakespeare's dramatic career.
These three legendary plays, performed by some of the best-known theatrical actors of the 20th century, are the perfect way to commemorate England's greatest dramatist. The Winter's Tale: one man's consuming jealousy threatens to destroy both himself and those around him, but his actions arouse a passionate sense of honour, love, justice and self-sacrifice in members of his Court and family. First broadcast in 1982, starring Ronald Pickup as Leontes, with Hannah Gordon as Hermione and John Gielgud as Time.
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."
At the opening of this late Shakespearean drama, Polixenes, the king of Bohemia, has been the longtime guest of Leontes and Hermione, the king and queen of Sicily. When the time comes for Polixenes to leave, Leontes urges him to stay longer. At first Polixenes refuses, but soon he yields to the entreaties of Hermione. His rapid change of mind convinces Leontes that the two are lovers and that Polixenes is the father of Hermione's unborn child.
Love triumphs in As You Like It, Shakespeare's joyous comic adventure! Rosalind, arguably Shakespeare's greatest female character, is banished from court and follows her exiled father into the untamed Forest of Arden. Disguised as a man for safety, Rosalind's great wit and good nature show through her male trappings as she engages with fools and philosophers adrift in the woods, and ultimately falls in love.
Shakespeare's King Lear ranks with Sophocles' Oedipus as a tragic hero destroyed by his own good intentions. From the moment when Lear unfolds his darker purpose, we are drawn into an ineluctable chain of events that leads through betrayal, deceit, destructive family conflict, reconciliation, despair, and death. Considered by many to be the most grueling of Shakespeare's tragedies.
"Wonderful performance - except Lear"
Shakespeare was heavily influenced by Holy Writ. Bible lines, characters, and narratives are "verbal characters" in his plays, poems, and sonnets, sometimes subtly and sometimes blatantly. But they are there, revealing the deep scriptural well that was the culture from which Shakespeare drew and reminding us of scenes and stories in the Bible.