Heather Betts

An exhibition of Berlin-based artist Heather Betts’ paintings inspired by Hamlet was displayed at Glyndebourne throughout Festival 2017.

The exhibition explored the complex and intricate folds of Hamlet’s story and its wealth of insight into the construction and study of its characters. Betts’ interest in the themes of Hamlet dates back to 2011, but when her husband, composer Brett Dean, was commissioned to create a new opera for Glyndebourne, Hamlet, she felt compelled to further explore the essence of thought underlining Hamlet’s story; the trajectory of fate. Her fascination with the basic human instincts underlies her work. The belief that throughout time, what drives us remains the same; we can all relate to Hamlet.

Readiness is all by Heather Betts.

Betts and Dean have found a strong resonance in each other’s work which has lead to a powerful and innovative discourse between music and art. Through this collaborative process, they deliver an extraordinary and original depiction of Hamlet’s story, shaped by the composition, texture and colour of their respective mediums.

‘I think it is wonderful how the two of them interact and inspire each other and is a fascinating demonstration of how visual art and music can combine, a partnership we are keen to explore at Glyndebourne.’
Gus Christie, Executive Chairman, Glyndebourne Opera House

The exhibition was curated by Maestro Arts.

Heather Betts was born in Sydney, Australia in 1962. She gained her Bachelor of Fine Arts at the City Art Institute, studying cello and visual arts, later gaining an MA at the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin. She currently spends her time between Melbourne and Berlin. Classical music provides a continual backdrop and force behind her whole working process. Her paintings are developed in series, many of which have been inspired by operas or dramatic musical compositions. There is a performative aspect to the paintings as the figures come to life through the narratives and personae, as well as the artist’s own experience.