Researcher and soprano Alina Bottez, PhD, associate professor at the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Bucharest, offers us, in episode number 8 of “microSCOPE: UB researcher on air” series, a foray into the area of intersection between literature and music, because, as the guest shows, our life is interdisciplinary by definition.
Thus, she tells us about the adaptation of literature to music and, especially, how a Shakespearean play is transformed when it becomes an opera or a musical, a form of theater with great success to the public.
The eighth episode of the microSCOPE series can be accessed here:
Starting from the premise that, by adapting literature to music, numerous changes and metamorphoses take place that are more than fascinating for the researcher’s study, prof. Alina Bottez invites us to delve into a series of concrete examples linked to these transformations.
Regarding the adaptation of Shakespeare’s plays to the genre of opera or musical, the guest of the Microscope shows that it changes depending on the period and the area where it takes place. As such, the phenomenon of adaptation is strongly influenced by the historical, cultural, social and religious context.
As an example, Alina Bottez presents us both the peculiarities and the mechanisms of censorship and self-censorship that acted in the case of the Romanian adaptation of the opera “Hamlet” composed by Pascal Bentoiu in 1968, with the premiere in 1974-1975, in full communist regime.
Another example offered is that of Antonio Salieri who, because he was addressing the cosmopolitan Viennese audience, collaborated with the librettist Carlo Prospero Defranceschi in the adaptation of the play “The Merry Wives of Windsor” using the accommodation of language humor: the English humor becomes a German-Italian one.
Next, the guest explains how the Danube, for example, or the war in Shakespeare’s works can be treated as independent characters and can be followed throughout an entire literature.
Thus, Alina Bottez shows, war in Shakespeare’s work is a “shapeshifter” because it appears in tragedies, historical plays, and comedies, changing its form depending on the context and approach. Regardless of whether he is a secondary character, who stands between man and his ideals, or, on the contrary, a main character who triggers the entire action, as in the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, war has clear and well-defined characteristics, which Alina Bottez decided to explain in a complex study.
About all this, as well as about other publications and plans, the researcher and soprano Alina Bottez spoke to us in the eighth episode of the microSCOPE series: UB researcher on air.
Alina Bottez, PhD, is a professor and researcher in the English Language Department of the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Bucharest and a soprano. She holds a double major: in music and foreign languages. She obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Bucharest (English French) and at the National University of Music in Bucharest (canto, class of prof. Maria Slătinaru-Nistor) and the distinction Summa cum laude for an interdisciplinary doctorate on the topic of adapting Shakespeare to music – A Confluence between Musical and Literary Masterpieces: Opera Jewels Inspired from Shakespeare’s Falstaff Plays, 2013.
Alina Bottez has a rich artistic career in Romania and abroad. She published, among others, A Confluence between Masterpieces: Operas Inspired by Shakespeare’s Plays, Bucharest: Editura Muzicală, 2015; Avatars of the Oedipal Myth in Modern Culture. Bucharest: Eikon, 2022; The Circumcised Dog and the Subtle Whore: Race and Gender in the Musical Adaptations of Shakespeare’s Othello in Elena Bandín, Francesca Rayner & Laura Campillo Arnaiz eds. – Othello in European Culture, Amsterdam & Philadelphia: John Benjamins, 2022, 205-224.
Her main areas of interest are Shakespearean studies, cultural studies, the study of mentalities and adaptation, specifically the interdisciplinary analysis of opera, the musical, the lied (music, literature, theater, visual arts, philosophy, mentalities, theology), medieval literature and culture, and Renaissance, Victorian literature and culture, British literature of the XX, translation and interpretation and music. More details on Alina Bottez’s activity are available here, here and here.
* The material was filmed in the Library of the Center for British Studies within the Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, University of Bucharest.
Part of the science communication program developed by the University of Bucharest, the “MicroSCOPE: UB researcher on air” series aims to present in a dynamic and concise manner information on the concrete results of some notable research efforts within the University of Bucharest.
In terms of format and objectives, the microSCOPE series comes to complete the science communication program of the University of Bucharest, which also includes the UB Conferences – Science for Everyone and the UB Science Dose.
The objective of the series is to promote those research projects (patents, articles and books) which, through the major contribution made to the field of which they belong, have come to benefit from international recognition, thus encouraging the connection between UB and various universities and research institutions abroad.
The microSCOPE, whose guests are primarily researchers from the UB awarded for their research results, aims to contribute to informing the Romanian academic milieu, but also other categories of interested public, on the main research projects carried out within the UB, thus stimulating the development of future collaborative initiatives.