Shakespeare in Retrospect

I’m excited to hear of a new Shakespeare initiative by a small UK charity called Retrospect Opera (, which makes professional recordings of important musical theatre works from Britain’s past, roughly the period 1750-1950. They are currently working on a specifically Shakespearean project: a recording of the music composed for David Garrick’s great Shakespeare “Jubilee” of 1769, as subsequently embedded in Garrick’s sensationally popular musical comedy, The Jubilee, premiered the same year. Next year marks the 250th anniversary of these remarkable events. Although the Jubilee is a seminal moment in Shakespeare’s reception history, and marked the consecration of Stratford-upon-Avon as a centre for literary pilgrimages, most of the music – described by a spokesman for the charity as being “consistently fresh and delightful” – has never been recorded before. The plan is to create something that is at once scholarly, with appropriate supporting documentation, and musically and theatrically done to the highest level, “capturing how much fun it all was”.

There is more detail about the project here:

Several very distinguished Shakespeareans have made donations. For a full list of supporters see here:

Having received about 80% of the necessary funding, Retrospect Opera hopes to be able to release the recording around February or March, well in advance of the exact anniversary in September. They are hoping that much of the remainder of the funding will come from individual Shakespeareans who understand the enormous importance of the Garrick Jubilee and recognise the value of reviving and commemorating it. There are various levels of supporter, as the website explains (basically £25, £50, and £100 categories).

Joseph Pearce
Joseph Pearce is a Catholic author and biographer who has written about subjects as various as GK Chesterton, economics, and Shakespeare. His latest book, Race with the Devil, chronicles his conversion from racial hatred to Catholicism. He is also the Director of the Center for Faith & Culture and Writer-in-Residence at Aquinas College in Nashville as well as the editor of St. Austin Review.

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