Brett Dean’s Hamlet set the New York Met stage alight. Started with a growling, sinister, single, rising bass note, delivered in darkness. Slowly, the Danish court became illuminated.

Finished with a narrowing spotlight on the dying Hamlet, as the “to be” question was answered, emphatically in the negative. The court had faded to…. nothing.

Never a moment during the two Act performance that was not totally absorbing. This was Shakespeare on musical steroids. Dean and his librettist Matthew Jocelyn were as faithful to the original text, necessarily truncated, as possible. For Jocelyn, Shakespeare was good enough.