Fun Facts

Many famous phrases and expressions come from Hamlet, including “To be or not to be—that is the question”; “The lady doth protest too much”; “Brevity is the soul of wit”; “To thine own self be true”; “What dreams may come”; “Method in [one’s] madness”; and “The rest is silence.” Shakespeare’s play has also been hugely influential in popular culture. References to Hamlet appear in every genre, from horror to science fiction to comedy, including in episodes of Star Trek and The Simpsons, as well as in the plot of the Disney’s The Lion King. The text has even been translated into the Star Trek language of Klingon.

The setting of Hamlet, Elsinore Castle, is a real place that still exists today. Known as Kronborg Castle, the Renaissance fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in Helsingør, Denmark.

Brett Dean is not only a composer but also a violist. He played in the viola section of the Berlin Philharmonic for 15 years, an experience that he credits with shaping his approach to composing. He still occasionally joins the orchestra for performances.

Music runs in the Dean family. Both Brett and his brother Paul, a clarinetist, have served as artistic director of the Australian National Academy of Music, and his daughter is the mezzo-soprano Lotte Betts-Dean.