'To Be or Not to Be': Is It the Question or the Point? 哈姆雷特改編成歌劇 難或不難？
"Hamlet" is our culture's supreme emblem of a great artist's freedom to create something radically new. Shakespeare found a way to represent the inner life as it had never been represented before: the pressure of compulsive, involuntary memories; the haunting presence of a dead father; a son's angst in the wake of his mother's remarriage; the suicidal thoughts of a young person forced to make impossible choices in a corrupt world.
The play, written in characteristically supple iambic pentameter, has an unforgettable music of its own, a set of rhythmic surprises sprung in the opening spondee — "Who's there?" — and developed in a thousand different ways. It is a music epitomized, even for those who have no idea that "Hamlet" is composed in verse, by the cadence of the most famous line in its most famous soliloquy: "To be, or not to be: that is the question."
Now imagine the challenge of trying to write an opera based on this of all plays — as Brett Dean has done with his "Hamlet."
A handful of composers, most notably Ambroise Thomas in the mid-19th century, ventured into this territory, but none of them managed to penetrate very far into its forbidding depths. That is, until Dean wrote his adaptation, which captures something of the authentic "Hamlet" music — in all its strangeness, dissonance and haunting beauty.
The opera's gifted librettist Matthew Jocelyn reweaves the text, an intervention apparent from the opera's first moments. Hamlet enters alone and, half-singing, half-speaking, intones the words "or not to be … or not to be … or not to be." The fragment from the celebrated Act III soliloquy is followed in this opening aria by fragments taken from his other soliloquies, along with a line — "What ceremony else?" — lifted from a different character, Laertes, who speaks it in Act V, at Ophelia's grave.
When Hamlet asks the visiting players to give him a passionate speech from their very best play, they begin to sing "To be or not to be." And in Ophelia's madness, she sings not her words alone but words that Hamlet has spoken to her, words that weigh like rocks dragging her down to a muddy death. "The Hamlet Zone" is a place in which words are broken up, transferred and shared, and in which the voice of one character is woven together, in both harmony and dissonance, with that of another.
With Spate of Attacks, Islamic State Begins Bloody New Chapter in Afghanistan IS再起 重啟阿富汗血腥新篇章
The first blast ripped through a school in Kabul, the Afghan capital, killing high school students. Days later, explosions destroyed two mosques and a minibus in the north of the country. The following week, three more explosions targeted Shiite and Sufi Muslims.
The attacks of the past three weeks have left at least 100 people dead, figures from hospitals suggest, and stoked fears that Afghanistan is heading into a violent spring, as the Islamic State's affiliate in the country tries to undermine the Taliban government and assert its newfound reach.
The sudden spate of attacks across the country has upended the relative calm that followed the Taliban's seizing of power in August, which ended 20 years of war.
The Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan — known as Islamic State Khorasan — has claimed responsibility for four of the seven recent major attacks, according to SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks extremist organizations.
With the attacks, the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate has undercut the Taliban's claim that they had extinguished any threat from the Islamic State in the country. It has also reinforced concerns about a potential resurgence of extremist groups in Afghanistan that could eventually pose an international threat.
Last month the Islamic State claimed it had fired rockets into Uzbekistan from northern Afghanistan — the first such purported attack by the group on a Central Asian nation.
Still, for most of the past six years the Islamic State has been contained to eastern Afghanistan amid U.S. airstrikes and Afghan commando raids that killed many of its leaders. But since the Taliban seized power, the Islamic State has grown in reach and expanded to nearly all 34 provinces, according to the United Nations Mission in Afghanistan.
After the Taliban broke open prisons across the country during their military advance in the summer, the number of Islamic State fighters in Afghanistan doubled to nearly 4,000, the U.N. found.
The group also ramped up its activity across the country, said Abdul Sayed, a security specialist and researcher who tracks the Islamic State group's Afghanistan affiliate and other jihadi groups. In the last four months of 2021, the Islamic State carried out 119 attacks in Afghanistan, up from 39 during the same period a year earlier.