Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Musical Arts (DMA)



First Committee Member

Linda Lister

Second Committee Member

Janis McKay

Third Committee Member

Tod Fitzpatrick

Fourth Committee Member

Cheryl Taranto

Fifth Committee Member

Nate Bynum

Number of Pages



Although the 17th century play Hamlet by William Shakespeare was originally performed in English, its popularity grew throughout Europe, entering France’s robust theatre tradition around the turn of the 19th century. Multiple versions of the translated play became available and the story began to take on French characteristics as it was adapted for French audiences. By the time Hamlet was set by librettists Michel Carré and Jules Barbier and composer Ambroise Thomas, the story had morphed somewhat from the original Shakespeare. Much of the story was condensed and the ending was significantly changed. Originally successful after its 1868 premiere, the opera fell out of favor with English speaking audiences after criticisms of its story and music. The opera has been recently revived in the repertoire. The goal of this document is to create a comparison of character and plot in the opera and the play and to examine the performance history of the opera outside of France. The research involved supports my translation project in which I provided a new English libretto for the Thomas opera, inspired by the original Shakespearean text.


Ambroise Thomas; Hamlet; Jules Barbier; Michel Carré; Opera; Shakespeare


Music | Theatre History