Kate Abbruzzese and Jonathan Epstein. 'The Merchant of Venice.' Shakespeare & Company 2016. Photo John Dolan.

A Singer’s Notes 126: Lenox Nights—The Merchant of Venice at Shakespeare and Company and Fellows at the Festival of Contemporary Music at Tanglewood

The Merchant of Venice has always been called a problem play. I might call it a miracle play. Here is why. There is a role in this play which dominates—with fewer than 350 lines. In the hands of Jonathan Epstein, Shylock was believable, unavoidable. It is important to remember that the play comes to an end without Shylock, although there is some of his equivocation in his daughter, clearly. In Mr. Epstein’s performance I heard a rare understanding of how the role finds its power. His rich voice ranged very little from loud to soft, fast to slow.

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