The famous story of Hamlet and Ophelia is played out between the opposite poles of real and feigned madness, love and avenge. After the murder of his father, Hamlet opposes the marriage of his mother and his uncle, at the expense of his beloved and himself. When Ambroise Thomas chose Shakespeare’s Hamlet as the subject of his new opera, France had been under the spell of the English bard for many years, and Ophelia had inspired romantic artists. The librettists Carré and Barbier distilled a straightforward story from Shakespeare’s abundant characters and situations, which, although it was clearly far removed from the original, inspired Thomas to write a coherent score that demonstrated his mastery of musical atmosphere. After their unanimously acclaimed Les Huguenots in 2011, Marc Minkowski and Olivier Py are continuing their highly personal exploration of the 19th-century French Grand Opéra repertoire.