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2017 Interlochen Arts Festival - "King Lear", Interlochen Shakespeare Festival

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The beauty of King Lear is in the descent of the title character as he reels from the deceit of his daughters. After Lear disposes of his kingdom, giving bequests to two of his three daughters based on their insincere flattery of him, tragic consequences befall them all. Derived from the legend of Leir of Britain, a mythological pre-Roman Celtic king, the play has been widely adapted for the stage and motion pictures, with the title role coveted by many of the world's most accomplished actors. The tragedy is particularly noted for its probing observations on the nature of human suffering and kinship.

The first attribution to Shakespeare of this play was a 1608 publication, however, its provenance is sketchy, as it may be an early draft or simply reflect the first performance text. The Tragedy of King Lear, a more theatrical revision, was included in the 1623 First Folio, however, modern editors usually combine the two, though some insist that each version has its own individual integrity that should be preserved.

Often times, the play was revised with a happy, non-tragic ending for more delicate audiences who disliked its dark tone. However, since the 19th century, Shakespeare's original version has been regarded as one of his supreme achievements. George Bernard Shaw wrote, "No man will ever write a better tragedy than Lear."

A mainstay in the arena of televised musical direction, Paul Shaffer has influenced the sound of a generation. From his early days orchestrating the band on Saturday Night Live to his more than 30 years as musical director for David Letterman, Shaffer has had a hand in the sounds and songs that peppered the landscape of late night television. Still behind the keyboard, he now spearheads The World's Most Dangerous Band, the group of musicians who formed from the CBS Orchestra and from some of his many other professional endeavors. Solid and powerful, this group of accomplished musicians brings a gravitas to their shows that cannot be denied.

2017 Interlochen Arts Festival - "King Lear", Interlochen Shakespeare Festival