London: William Shakespeare`s final stage masterpiece, The Tempest, was intended as a musical, according to a leading theatre director.
The Tempest - first performed in November 1611 -- is sprinkled with so many songs and melodic phrases that it clear that the playwright intended it to be read to music, Jonathan Holmes, the artistic director of Jericho House, has claimed.
He also said Shakespeare should have shared credit for the play with Robert Johnson, a composer and lute player.
During two years of research, Holmes claims he has unearthed proof that the playwright and Johnson, the esteemed court lutenist of the time, worked together as equals on The Tempest which was penned in 1610 and 1611.
"Academics have wondered for years why music is so central to the play. I have always felt that it reads like there is something missing.
"There are gaps in the text and character development is cut short. It has a reputation as an underwritten play, although it seems clear that extra text has not been cut or lost," `The Observer` quoted him as saying.
The Tempest tells the story of a Prospero, the exiled Duke of Milan, and his attempts to restore his daughter Miranda to her rightful position, using illusion and skilful manipulation.
In his research, Holmes points to unexplained musical references in every scene to back up his theory.
Stanley Wells, chairman of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, was quoted by `The Sunday Telegraph` as saying, "I would want to see the evidence, but this sounds possible. I can quite believe The Tempest might have been conceived as a musical entertainment."