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The Independent Culture
Anyone who's anyone has had a pop at Shakespeare. I'm speaking musically. Mendelssohn and Britten made music out of A Midsummer Night's Dream, while Verdi did a creditable job with Macbeth, and his Otello is a masterpiece. Rossini also wrote a version of the latter, and let's not forget musicals like Fire Angel (The Merchant of Venice), The Boys from Syracuse or Oh, Brother (The Comedy of Errors), and Play On! (Twelfth Night). The last of those used material by Duke Ellington (above), a jazz great who was rather taken with Shakespeare. In fact, the latest RSC revival of Timon of Athens features a score that Ellington wrote for an earlier production. While it's fair to say that no score is going to make this into the finest, freshest play that Shakespeare ever wrote, it may well help sell what could certainly be described as a rarity.

RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon (01789 403440) to 9 Oct