Hamlet, William Shakespeare's longest and most famous tragedy, was written some time between 1599 and 1602. It is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential works of literature in history.
Prince Hamlet sets out to avenge his beloved father's death at the hand of his uncle Claudius, who has married the Queen and seized the crown. But Hamlet's spiral into grief and madness has permanent and immutable consequences for the Kingdom of Denmark.
King Lear, first performed in 1606, is considered by many to be William Shakespeare’s finest tragedy. It draws on many of the same sources as the history plays, but also contains elements of classic fairy tales.
Lear is dividing his kingdom between his three daughters based upon their flattery when telling of their love for him. Cordelia’s honesty leads him to banish her from his kingdom, and madness descends upon the ageing king.
Thought to have been first performed in 1606 as a response to the Gunpowder Plot against James I, and William Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy, Macbeth is a story of power, ambition, witchcraft and murder.
Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is a partially fictionalised telling of the Salem witch trials of 1692/3. Accusations of witchcraft following a game played by the daughters of a Massachusetts village spiral out of control and many must choose between their reputations and their integrity.
Antigone is the narrative conclusion of Sophocles' three Theban Plays, dealing with the the fates of Oedipus and his offspring. Denied the rite by the state to bury her battle-fallen brother, Antigone is compelled to defy her city and her king, in order to fulfil her duty to family and to the gods.
Antony and Cleopatra is one of William Shakespeare’s longest plays, at over 3,500 lines. Shakespeare takes Plutarch’s Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans as his source text, but diverges in giving Cleopatra equal billing.
Roman general Mark Antony is in love with Cleopatra, the Egyptian empress, much to the disapproval of Octavius Caesar. Against conflicting backdrops of luxury and fame, versus death and war, the couple’s epic romance threatens to burn both Rome and Egypt to the ground.
Often dubbed part of Lorca's Rural Trilogy, Blood Wedding is a deeply cynical and confrontational piece of theatre. The Mother, The Bride, The Beggar Woman, The Neighbour, The Maid and The Moon - the characters in Federico Garcia Lorca's story operate as the largely nameless vehicles driving forward the play's themes of fate, betrayal, choice and consequence, towards an inevitably tragic conclusion.
Carmen's controversial portrayal of realism and romanticism caused a stir in 19th-century France and has since established itself as an international opera house favourite.
Probably William Shakespeare’s last tragedy, Coiolanus shares its source material, Lives of the Noble Grecians and Romans, with Julius Caesar and Antony and Cleopatra. In a notable diversion from Plutarch’s text, Shakespeare dramatically develops the characterisation of Volumnia.
After winning the love of the Roman citizens with a spectacular display of bravery in battle, Coriolanus turns tyrant and, unable to conceal his contempt for the masses, is banished, causing him to unite with a former foe in vengeance.
Set against the backdrop of a Britain struggling to resist an advancing Roman empire, and one of William Shakespeare’s most problematic plays, Cymbeline is the story of a king defied and defiant. Innogen has married the lowly Posthumus, against the command of the king, her father. After being tricked into believing his new wife has been unfaithful, Posthumus plots to kill Innogen, who escapes disguised as a page, leading to a series of revelations.
Baroque composer Henry Purcell’s classical tale of love thwarted by evil powers.
Christopher Marlowe's most renowned play, The Tragical History of the Life and Death of Doctor Faustus, was first published in England in 1604. It tells the German story of a curious and brilliant doctor, whose fascination with dark magic leads him to make a pact with the devil.
William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar is believed to have been written in 1599. Despite the title, the play focuses more on Brutus and the conflicting demands on him of honour and friendship.
The skies over ancient Rome blaze with terrifying portents, and soothsayers warn Caesar of approaching doom. As conspiracy swirls through the city, Shakespeare explores the deep repercussions of political murder on the human heart.
When Rodolfo, a penniless poet, meets Mimì, a seamstress, they fall passionately in love. But their happiness is threatened when Rodolfo learns that Mimì is gravely ill.
Alfredo and the courtesan Violetta fall passionately in love. But Violetta is seriously ill and Alfredo’s father disapproves of their relationship – can their love overcome such obstacles?