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The Arts Intel Report

A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler
A Cultural Compass
For the World Traveler

Richard III, by Henry Purcell

The cover art for Richard III.

Until June 23
Linke Wienzeile 6, 1060 Wien, Austria

Remember Richard III (or “Crookback”), whose death brought the bloody Wars of the Roses to their tardy close? Offhand, not one note of Henry Purcell comes to mind that evokes him. The conductor Benjamin Bayl and the stage director Kateryna Sokolova think otherwise, however, and have mashed up Shakespeare’s history play with music of England’s greatest composer in an entertainment that purports to show that chameleon Machiavel to us from all sides. The title role is triple cast with a singer, an actor, and a dancer. The balance of Shakespeare’s dramatis personae, however, is slashed to three characters. There’s Mom, who curses Richard like the wrath of God. There’s Lady Anne, whom Richard widows, marries, and murders. And finally, there’s George, the patsy of a brother Richard’s loose-cannon assassins drown in a butt of Malmsey, which is to say a barrel of Madeira. —Matthew Gurewitsch