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Shakespeare and the Met

The Metropolitan Opera will simulcast eight operas this year, two of which are taken from the Shakespeare canon: Gounod’s "Romeo and Juliet" will be broadcast live to movie theaters all over the world on December 15, with a recorded encore on December 16 and Verdi’s "Macbeth" will be broadcast on January 12 with an encore on January 13. These simulcasts are a brand new project of the Met and having seen five of the six broadcasts last year, I can recommend them as a wonderful way to experience opera whether you are a neophyte or dedicated fan. With tickets at $22, they are an entertainment bargain. You can find local theaters and buy tickets at the Metropolitan Opera site. If you are unfamiliar with the opera, here is a sample of Gounod’s music inspired by Shakespeare’s genius: “ah, leve toi soliel ” sung here by Richard Troxell . If you are interested in seeing how the aria fits with Shakespeare's poetry, you can view a literal translation of the opera at Th

Michael Moore and the true Shakespeare

Now who would you expect to run into leaving the book and crafts sale at the Community Center of tiny Alden, Michigan, on the southeast, currently snowy shores of Torch Lake? This morning it was Michael Moore, holding a can of Vernor’s in his hand and telling us it was the best pop art in the place. Rosey and I have extended an invitation, again, to Michael, who lives up the lake from us, for dinner when he is down south of Clam River with an extra hour or two on his hands. No telling, once he has solved the health care problems of the country, that he might want to turn his attention to the true author of the works which carry the name William Shakespeare on their cover. Michael, we have a tale of intrigue, genius, power, murder, corruption, and cover up for you all encased in a tale of the fall into oblivion of perhaps western civilization’s most brilliant literary talent, whose works have taken on a name of their own which we continue to call Shakespeare. I can also promise you,

No turkey for Oberon

Oberon’s November meeting last week definitely was no turkey. As promised, Tom Townsend delivered a feast of evidence about Hamlet’s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern that knocks the stuffing out of Stratfordian pretensions that their boy Will Shaksper ever could have put pen to paper and produced anything like Hamlet. Of course, de Vere received his just desserts as Tom doled out one course after another of evidence including the following: De Vere’s brother in law Lord Willoughby led a diplomatic mission to Denmark in 1582 and returned with information about the Danish court that shows up in Hamlet. A state reception was held for Willoughby which only Danish nobility attended. A Rosencrantz and two Guildensterns were on the list of attendees. The dating of Hamlet, traditionally put at 1595-1600, could be the early to mid-1580s. A Guildenstern from Sweden visited Hedingham when de Vere was 12-years-old. By the way, de Vere was 12 when his father, the 16th Earl, died. Is there a connecti

Did Shakespeare Anticipate Mad Cow Disease?

I just read an amusing article published in Clinical Infectious Diseases , a medical journal published by University of Chicago, in 2006. The article is titled "'Strange things I have in head': Evidence of Prion Disease in Shakespeare's Macbeth" . You can access it (I hope) at http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/CID/journal/issues/v42n2/37985/37985.text.html The article purports to show that Macbeth may have acted the way he did because he was suffering from a disease. Prion diseases (formerly known as slow-virus diseases) are a collection of neurologic diseases affecting humans and animals. The three human forms are Familial fatal insomnia, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. This last one is considered the human form of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, more commonly known as Mad Cow Disease. The article in question uses multiple quotations from Macbeth to show that Macbeth may have been suffering from variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob dis

Shakespeare NOW!

When I was browsing in Shaman Drum last month, I came upon a set of slim volumes with the series title, Shakespeare NOW! The series is published by Continuum Books, London and New York and is edited by Simon Palfrey and Ewan Fernie with the intention of offering “ . . . a series of intellectual adventure stories: animate with fresh and often exposed thinking, with ideas still heating in the mind.” The book that caught my eye is Shakespeare Thinking by Philip Davis of the University of Liverpool School of English. This is a dense book in terms of ideas and thrilling to read – I believe Davis has met the challenge of talking about the work of Shakespeare in new and challenging ways. From what I understand, Davis argues that Shakespeare’s language accesses the actual creation of thought – that Shakespeare shows us reality coming into language, unfiltered by consciousness. In this language, nothing is taken for granted and nothing is already known. With Shakespeare, whatever it is, it is

Raymond McDaniel introduces Charles Adams Kelly

Raymond McDaniel introduced Charles Adams Kelly before Kelly's presentation of his book, Echoes and Shadows in the Text of Shakespeare's Hamlet at Shaman Drum Bookshop in Ann Arbor on October 25. I thought the introduction was so beautiful (and so evocative of the mystery of the received word) that I asked McDaniel if we could publish it here. He graciously gave his permission. I hope his words will serve as a delicious incentive for you to attend Charles Adams Kelly's appearance at our Oberon meeting -- 7 p.m., January 17 at the Farmington Community Library . In addition to hosting the reading series at Shaman Drum Bookshop , Raymond McDaniel writes for Fence magazine's The Constant Critic and teaches at the University of Michigan. He is the author of Murder (a violet). His second book of poetry, Saltwater Empire , is forthcoming from Minneapolis based Coffee House Press . Here is what he said on October 25: Good evening and welcome. Thank you for coming out ton

An Arabian Night's Dream?

Yesterday two members of Oberon, Susan Nenadic and myself, went to the Ann Arbor District Library to hear director Jeff Myers and some of his cast talk about the Ann Arbor Civic Theater's upcoming production of A Midsummer Night's Dream , to be presented November 15-18 at the Lydia Mendelsosohn Theater. (Information on times and tickets at www.a2ct.org ). Mr. Myers has decided to adapt the play (while keeping 75-80% of the original text) with an eye towards Arabian or Islamic culture, pointing out that the original play (although not really historical) is set in Athens during the "Golden Age" of Theseus, whereas later in world history the "cultural capital of the world" had shifted to Arabia and particularly Baghdad. Mr. Myers is setting his adaptation in Baghdad at around 800 AD. While retaining most of the original text, he has changed references to locations and has changed the names of the characters to reflect Islamic culture. Thus, instead of Obero

Report: Shakespeare's herbal imagery and advancing Oxford

Dear Oberon, I am pleased to report that Thursday's meeting featuring herbalist Lonnie Morley discussing Shakespeare's herbal imagery as a clue to the author's identity was a huge success. Ms. Morley brought insight into the important role of herbs and flowers in Shakespeare's plays and poems. She has agreed to post a shortened version of her talk on our Oberon blog, so please stay tuned. If you are interested in Shakespeare, you will be very interested in Morley's treatment of this key topic. In addition, Ms. Morley is a staunch supporter of the view that Edward de Vere authored the works of Shakespeare. After all, he grew up in the home of his ward, Sir William Cecil, Lord Burghley, whose gardens were among the most magnificent in all Elizabethan England and whose master gardener, with whom young de Vere was surely well acquainted, wrote a compendium on herbs of such authority that it is still in use today. Shakespeare shows a remarkable familiarity with herbs,

Derran Charlton on Katherine Eggar

In a message dated 10/21/2007 12:23:48 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time, Derran Charlton wrote: Tom Hunter, and Phaeton: Miss Eggar often addressed the Shakespearean Authorship Society re Edward de Vere and Ferdinando Stanley. The Shakespearean Authorship Society (formerly the Shakespeare Fellowship, founded in 1922) publications No.3 (Spring 1960) and No.5 (Spring 1961), together with her Oxfordian pamphlets, refer. Miss K. Eggar, A.R.A.M., was a distinguished Vice-President of the Society, alongside Miss Hilda Amphlett, T.L. Adamson, Sir John Russell and William Kent, F.S.A. The Hon. Secretary was Miss Gwynneth M. Bowen. I am fortunate to own several annotated Oxfordian books and pamphlets ex libris Gwynneth. The President of the Society was Christmas Humphreys, Q.C. Quote from Miss Eggar`s talk to The Shakespearean Authorship Society, 26th November, 1960: "Miss Eggar drew attention to the significant fact that the "poet" Shakespeare only comes into existence as the man

Glimmerglass salutes the bard

Glimmerglass Opera near Cooperstown, New York will devote its 2008 Festival Season to musical works inspired by Shakespeare. Here is a note from their announcement: Glimmerglass Opera will stage its 34th Festival Season July 5–August 24, 2008, “If music be the food of love, play on!” Four new productions with links to Shakespeare will be presented on a set resembling an Elizabethan theater: Porter's Kiss Me, Kate , Handel's Giulio Cesare in Egitto , the American fully-staged premiere of Wagner's Das Liebesverbot (inspired by Shakespeare's Measure for Measure), and Bellini's I Capuleti e i Montecchi . Additionally, Glimmerglass will present two concert performances of Felix Mendelssohn's Complete Incidental Music to A Midsummer Night's Dream . Click here to subscribe now to Glimmerglass Opera's 2008 Festival Season .

SOS/SF Joint Shakespeare Authorship Conference, Oct. 5-8, 2007, Carmel, CA

The following is a play-by-play from Oberon founder and SOS board member Richard Joyrich on the Carmel, CA SOS/SF joint conference on Oct 5-8, 2007 (adapted from a series of E-mails). Carmel, Day 1 Wish you were here! But since you're not, I will begin my daily report of the goings-on here at the Carmel Shakespeare Authorship Conference. We're off to a great start. But I do have to mention that I am still getting compliments from people about how good last year's Ann Arbor Conference was. Virginia told me that she is already missing all the help given to her last year by Rosey, Sue, Linda, and others in registering people and selling books. There were four talks this afternoon. Earl Showerman started us out with another of his marathon run-throughs of Shakespeare's use of Greek sources. However, this time he actually finished on time! And he covered four plays instead of only two as he did last year! He pointed out that, although scholars (read Stratfordians, of c

Early Oxfordian Katharine Emily Eggar, 1874-1961

When I was putting together my notes for the labyrinth party, I came across an intriguing citation from the Journal of the Royal Musical Association. I had been trying to find information about Oxford's interest in music and Katharine Emily Eggar's 1934 paper, "The Seventeenth Earl of Oxford as Musician, Poet, and Controller of the Queen's Revels" sounded exciting. The Eggar citation from the Journal of the Royal Musical Association is available online, but I was unable to get access so I asked my local library, the Howell Carnegie District Library , to get it for me. They got a copy of the article from Michigan State University. I also got a list of Eggar citations from Google Scholar Beta. Tom Hunter, meanwhile, found that Eggar's papers are held at the University of London Libary from the Archives Hub Here is the citation: Papers of Katherine Emily Eggar Held at: University of London Library Reference and contact details: GB 96 MS 987 Title: Pape

Declaration of Reasonable Doubt update

From Shakespeare Authorship Coalition Chairman John Shahan (published with permission): Due to the spectacular success of the recent Declaration signing event in Chichester, the SAC needs to coordinate more closely with our U.K. affiliates. Therefore, the next signing deadline has been pushed back one week to Sunday, October 21, and the next update of the signatories list has been pushed back two weeks to October 29. If you signed after the last update on July 2, your name will not appear on the list on our website until then. If you know of any doubters who haven't yet signed, you have an extra week to recruit. Just tell them to visit our website at http://www.doubtaboutwill.org/ . BTW, if you will be in the U.K. during November, you may want to check out the John Silberrad Memorial Lectures on the Shakespeare Authorship Issue at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in London. Co-sponsored by the Shakespearean Authorship Trust (SAT) and Brunel University, the series kicks off on Nove

Echoes & Shadows in the Texts of Shakespeare's Hamlet

Charles Adams Kelly of Howland Research in Ann Arbor, Michigan will read from his new -- April 2007 -- book, Echoes & Shadows in the Texts of Shakespeare's Hamlet at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 25 at Shaman Drum bookstore, 315 S. State Street, Ann Arbor, Michigan. You can order Kelly's work from Shaman Drum in Ann Arbor or from Amazon.com . Kelly says: Echoes & Shadows is a concise but dense re-examination of a range of evidence that tends to challenge the accepted notion of the 1st Quarto of Hamlet as a bad quarto, an unauthorized abridgment. The author advances the scholarly perspective of two significant areas of evidence, and provides a convincing indication that the planned textual analysis will further support the theory of Q1 Hamlet as an earlier authorized text. The Howland website provides sample pages and illustrations from the book. Kelly's analysis tools are available free for research purposes from the website .

Cymbeline in Chicago

Cymbeline runs through November 11, 2007 at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier. The production is directed by the theater's artistic director Barbara Gaines and features Larry Yando and Chaon Cross. Their new production of Othello runs February 3 through April 6, 2008.

Oberons in the labyrinth

Above: Richard and Dorothy made it to the center of the labyrinth while Rosey continuted her journey. Thanks to all Oberoners who spent a glorious Sunday afternoon together. I had a great time watching my friends walk the labyrinth with Sting singing Dowland in the background. Here is the resource list I used for my introductory talk about the labyrinth and the music of John Dowland (1563-1626). Mazes & Labyrinths: their history and development by W. H Matthews; Longmans, Green & Co., London 1922, Dover Publications, Inc., 180 Varick St. 1970 Shakespeare by another Name by Mark Anderson, Gotham Books, 2005 Shakespeare and Music -- Arden Critical Companions by David Lindley, Thompson Learning, 2006 Sting: Songs from the Labyrinth, Music by John Dowland , UMG Recordings, Inc. 2006 The Journey & the Labyrinth, the Music of John Dowland performed by Sting, DVD & CD, UMG Recordings, 2007 Edward deVere and his circle: My Lord of Oxenford’s Maske by Mignarda Lutesong du

Oberon Report to the Unsatisfied: Thursday's Meeting

Dear Oberon, Some special people couldn’t be with us at Oberon Thursday evening. We missed you all, but we want to send special wishes to Laura and Gary, and also to Robin and Judy. Although we missed Robin, we certainly understand. He did get some cookies, however, so not to worry. For those of us who were there, we had, as Richard said, “another great meeting.” Thank you, Richard, for that. I can’t disagree. Preparations are under way for our Oct. 25 meeting with guest speaker Lonnie Morley. Lonnie will tell the assembled multitude about herbs in Shakespeare and their authorial implications. Linda Theil and her committee have already gotten the word out to a number of groups, will make some follow-up contacts, and will work on final preparations. The meeting will be at the Farmington Library , Room 1A, starting at 7 p.m., doors open at 6:45. Also Linda urged everyone to visit our blog, which by now features many contributions from various people. Even better, she urged everyone t

Oberon meeting Thurs., Sept.20

Dear Oberon, Well, now. We are meeting at just the right time--next Thursday, Sept 20 at 6:45 at the Farmington Community Library , which apparently has become our comfortable new home. It's the right time for updates about the Declaration of Reasonable Doubt authored by the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition which many of you signed and which is creating quite a stir in England, having been presented by Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance this past week to a responsive public! Not bad company to be in. And this right after Prof. Jonathan Bate, from up high on his Stratfordian throne, declared that no major actors have ever doubted Stratford Bill (my term not his, of course) as the true author. I say let's start with this glaring error and take a systematic look at the rest of what Prof. Bate has said on the subject! By the way, a report just in from John Shahan, one of the originators of the Declaration, that whereas we had just under 300 signers when Jacobi and Rylance made the a

AP touts anti-Stratfordian actors

Here is my note to Jos. Harker, Response Editor of The Guardian , after The Associated Press scooped The Guardian on the anti-Stratfordian actor issue raised in my letter to the editor -- see text in Sept. 7 blog below. Note: The coalition referred to in the AP story is the Shakespeare Authorship Coalition . Tom To Joseph Harker, Response Editor, The Guardian Dear Joseph, I followed your suggestion of Wednesday, Sept 5 and sent the letter below to letters@guardian.co.uk correcting Prof. Bate's misinformation passed along by your reporter. Apparently nothing was done about correcting the error. Apparently my letter was not printed. Apparently The Guardian has not bothered to look into the error. Now Yahoo has run a story by Associated Press writer D'Arcy Doran providing accurate information about famous actors who have doubted the traditional attribution of Shakespeare authorship which you can link to here: " Coalition Aims to Expose Shakespeare " by D'

New Novels to Look Out For

Earl Showerman has told me (and the other members of our Joint Committee for putting on the upcoming Conference in Carmel) about an upcoming novel by Jennifer Lee Carrell called "Interred With Their Bones" due to be published in "early September". Earl somehow got an advance manuscript copy and he is two-thirds through reading it. It seems that the novel is going in an Oxfordian direction (although Earl didn't want to "spoil" it for us). He is going to invite the author to try to attend the Carmel Conference to do some book signings and maybe speak to us. She has a good academic background including a PhD in English from Harvard. Reading about the book on her website , it seems like it will be interesting, but I can't tell from what is on the website whether she is really an Oxfordian, but there are many good links on her site to information on the Authorship. The book is about a murder and then the search for clues to a "Shakespearian puzzle&

Reviewer takes Bate

It appears that Stratfordian Prof. Jonathan Bate (see letter to the Guardian below) has been caught in a display of ignorance. Chances are my letter will never see print in the Guardian , but we need to answer the obvious gaffes of the traditional camp to get the discussion out into the open -- sooner or later it will happen. Tom Hunter To the Editor of the Guardian: In his review of Mark Rylance’s new play, The BIG Secret Live - I Am Shakespeare - Webcam Daytime Chat-room Show at the Chichester Festival Theatre , Michael Billington (Guardian, Sept. 3, 2007 ) quotes scholar Jonathan Bate: "It is a striking fact that no major actor has ever been attracted to anti-Stratfordianism," the notion, Billington explains, that someone other than Shakespeare wrote the plays attributed to him. Says Billington, “Now Mark Rylance proves Bate wrong.” The problem is that Bate is as accurate in this statement as he is about the authorship question in general, about which he displays only a

Eastward Ho! to Stratford

Our Oberon Stratford group this year was able to fit into one car. The five of us, Richard, Linda, Sue, Rosey, and I, headed eastward toward the bridge at Port Huron/Sarnia early last Saturday morning, August 25. There was no wait at the bridge, and the merry little band was admitted to Canada after brief questioning by the attendant as to who we were (Oberon, Shakespeare study group), what did we do (study Shakespeare), where we were bound (Stratford),for what reason (to see a play), at what time (2 p.m.), which play (Merchant of Venice), brief plot summary please (one followed--just kidding), by which author (Shakespeare), was he the real author (just kidding). Fortunately, I had given the driving over to Richard, so it was Richard who patiently answered the questions as opposed to me who, as Rosey likes to relate, undoubtedly would have become totally irritated and scornful and who would have gotten everyone strip searched and jailed, thereby missing the curtain. The drive through C

As You Like It CD out

The soundtrack CD from Kenneth Branagh's new As You Like It film for HBO is available now. The original music was composed for the film by Patrick Doyle who also scored Branagh's Hamlet , Henry V , Much Ado and L3 as well as many other films. The music includes Shakespeare's songs from the play such as "Blow, Blow Thou Winter Wind" and "It Was a Lover and his Lass" that appear in the play without music, encouraging the songs to be set according to current fashion. In 2005 the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario produced an As You Like It with original music by Canadian band, Barenaked Ladies. Our Oberon group saw that production during a visit to Stratford that year. You can order the BNL As You Like It CD from BNL Audio. Setting Shakespeare's songs was also popular in the early part of the Twentieth Century. Roger Quilter and Gerald Finzi are famous for their atmospheric, English art-song, settings. My favorite CD is a compendium

Oxfordian theater critic

On our drive to Stratford on Saturday, Richard introduced us to an Oxfordian theater critic he had discovered on the web. According to his website, Bob Bows has been reviewing regional theater for over 11 years. His reviews are broadcast on KUVO 89.3 FM and published in The Denver Post . In an August 10, 2007 review of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival's All's Well That Ends Well , Bows had this to say: "Let's be frank: In Shakespeare, there are no problem plays, only problematic interpretations. The root of the issue is the refusal by entrenched academic and ancillary industries to acknowledge that many think Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford, was the actual author of the plays, sonnets, etc. attributed to William Shakespeare." On his website, ColoradoDrama , Bows provides an essay explaining why he feels the authorship question has a place in theatrical criticism. He says: "It is of the utmost importance that we do not allow these misperceptions

Richard Rose dialogue on Merchant

Dear Oberon, Having no shame, I recently invited Richard Rose, the director of Stratford's Merchant of Venice, which some of us will be seeing Saturday, to share the event with us at dinner. I did this despite warnings from one of our esteemed members (you know who you are, Richard) that there were some problems with the production. In politely declining, Mr. Rose has some good answers although we won't have a chance to pose the questions. I thought the exchange might be interesting to Oberon. Mr. Rose has indicated that he is very comfortable discussing his production with us. With his permission, his reply and my reply to his reply follow. Tom Hunter, Oberon Chair In a message dated 8/22/2007 8:54:54 P.M. EDT, Richard Rose writes: Dear Mr. Hunter, Happy to see your presentation but not sure when I can actually read it as I am onto other projects. I think you will find that this Merchant adheres quite closely to a line by line interpretation (with a few obscurities