Major Evening Event
A collaboration with the Metropolitan Opera
At the New York Historical Society
(170 Central Park West)
"Shakespeare, coming upon me unawares, struck me like a thunderbolt. The lightning flash of that discovery revealed to me the whole heaven of art." So wrote Hector Berlioz in 1827, heralding the arrival of Romanticism on the shores of France. Forty years later, Charles Gounod composed his glittering opera Romeo et Juliette. In connection with this season’s new production of Gounod’s masterpiece at the Met Opera, we present an evening of selections from Shakespeare’s play and Gounod’s opera, accompanied by the keen insights of Oxford’s Jonathan Bate, the brilliant author of The Genius of Shakespeare, in an exploration of Shakespeare and French Romanticism. Kathleen Chalfant, André Holland, Rachel Mewbron, and Met singers will perform passages from both Shakespeare's play and Gounod's opera. The evening will also include a conversation with Bartlett Sher, director of the new Met production.
MEMBERS Reserve your complimentary seats by logging in here or calling (212) 967-6802.
Limited additional member tickets are available for $25.
Wednesday, December 7 at 7 pm
Jonathan Bate studied at Cambridge and Harvard universities. Well known as a biographer, critic, broadcaster and scholar, he is Provost of Worcester College and Professor of English Literature in the University of Oxford. He has wide-ranging research interests in Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature, Romanticism, biography and life-writing, ecocriticism, contemporary poetry and theatre history. He is a Fellow of both the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature, as well as an Honorary Fellow of St Catharine’s College, Cambridge. Before moving to Oxford in 2011, he was a Fellow of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, then King Alfred Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool, and then Professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. He is a Governor of the Royal Shakespeare Company, broadcasts regularly for the BBC, writes for the Guardian, Times, Wall Street Journal and TLS, and has held visiting posts at Yale and UCLA. In 2006 he was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s 80th Birthday Honours for his services to higher education. He has been Vice-President (leading the Humanities) of the British Academy. In January 2015, he became the youngest person ever to have been knighted for services to literary scholarship.
His creative works include Being Shakespeare, a one-man play for Simon Callow, which toured nationally and played at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe prior to three West End runs, followed by a transfer to New York and Chicago. He was consultant curator for the British Museum’s major Shakespeare exhibition for the 2012 Cultural Olympiad.
He is married to the biographer Paula Byrne, and they have three children.
About Jonathan Bate