Back to the Bard

Eugene singer brings Shakespeare to life in an evening of songs at the Wildish

Phoebe Gildea loves Shakespeare’s work so much that she’s decided to sing it.

The classical opera-singing Eugene native is combining her love of singing and Shakespeare by compiling a variety of Bard-inspired songs into one performance called A Rose by Any Other Name. 

“It was my mom’s idea,” Gildea says, adding, “I have to deal with that for a while.”

Gildea has loved Shakespeare since she was a kid. At 9 years old, she played Ariel in her first Shakespeare play, The Tempest.

Since then, Shakespeare’s works have played an important role throughout Gildea’s singing career.

Gildea plans to represent Shakespeare in several different ways in her show. The first is through operas and musicals based on Shakespeare’s stories such as West Side Story, a version of Romeo and Juliet. The second is through songs written by Shakespeare and published within his plays.

Finally, Gildea is singing musical texts that allude to Shakespeare, such as A Rose by any Other Name. She will be accompanied by pianist Nathalie Fortin.

The concert will feature different genres and singing styles, Gildea says. One song has a choreographed dance, other songs involve acting, and Gildea will also have three colleagues join her on stage briefly.  

“I tried to give it a nice variety so that no one emotion will get too exhausted,” she says.

Gildea is passionate about this concert because she loves seeing how each generation remakes Shakespeare in its own image, usually injecting modern contexts.

“We can go across the divide of time and space and still tell the stories of human emotion,” Gildea says. “They are still relevant because we are still doing the same plays.”

A Rose By Any Other Name has a single performance 7:30 pm Saturday, May 12, at Springfield’s Wildish Theater. Tickets at