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date: 15 April 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Shakespeare adaptations are uniquely suited to chart the historical reciprocity between performance traditions and emerging mediascapes. Reframing a classical essay of Walter Benjamin’s within the context of contemporary media theory, this chapter draws together archival research, interviews, and observations of performances in related aesthetic forms that have engaged with Shakespeare’s texts, including those by such key figures as Giuseppe Verdi, George Balanchine, and Mario Castelnuovo-Tedesco. By focusing on connections between the inventors of audiovisual technologies (from early audio recordings to ‘live’ HD broadcasts) and key performances by actors, singers, and dancers, and by examining how contemporary performers respond to today’s digital technologies in the light of the traditions of performance established by their predecessors, it attempts to resituate the study of adaptations of Shakespeare within broader historical and cultural contexts.

Keywords: Key terms, emerging mediascapes, audio recording, media theory, ‘live’ HD broadcasts, Verdi, Balanchine, Benjamin, Castelnuovo-Tedesco, adaptation.

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