Over the past two decades or so, adaptation studies have provided ample and conclusive evidence about the importance of contemporary popular music as a vital cultural arena for the dialogue between Shakespeare and our time. In this article I focus on Othello, a play whose creative and critical afterlife has been significantly shaped by a tendency to musicalise Shakespeare’s plot and/or its protagonists. By looking at a select corpus of performances across a variety of media, I examine the role played by different brands of pop music in enabling particular versions of the play to be imagined and produced. I start from the typical association of Othello with black musical styles and then move on to discuss more recent takes which seek to complicate the discourse of race, inviting a more nuanced perception of the identities and meanings embedded in the play. By widening the scope of my analysis beyond the Anglosphere, I further emphasise the international and indeed transnational angle to these musical reworkings as well as their complex, polyphonic mode of interaction with Shakespeare’s cultural capital.

“O O O O that Shakespeherian Rap”: Reimagining Othello through Contemporary Popular Music

soncini
2018

Abstract

Over the past two decades or so, adaptation studies have provided ample and conclusive evidence about the importance of contemporary popular music as a vital cultural arena for the dialogue between Shakespeare and our time. In this article I focus on Othello, a play whose creative and critical afterlife has been significantly shaped by a tendency to musicalise Shakespeare’s plot and/or its protagonists. By looking at a select corpus of performances across a variety of media, I examine the role played by different brands of pop music in enabling particular versions of the play to be imagined and produced. I start from the typical association of Othello with black musical styles and then move on to discuss more recent takes which seek to complicate the discourse of race, inviting a more nuanced perception of the identities and meanings embedded in the play. By widening the scope of my analysis beyond the Anglosphere, I further emphasise the international and indeed transnational angle to these musical reworkings as well as their complex, polyphonic mode of interaction with Shakespeare’s cultural capital.
Soncini, SARA FRANCESCA
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11568/948052
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