However, by 1888 he had altered these notions. The actor Lucien Guitry asked him to write some incidental music for a production of Shakespeare's play, to which Tchaikovsky agreed. The planned performance was cancelled, but Tchaikovsky decided to finish what he had started, in the form of a concert overture. There is no musical enactment of the events of the play, or even a presentation of the key characters. The work adopts the same scheme he used in his other Shakespeare pieces, the fantasy-overture Romeo and Juliet (1869, revised 1870 and 1880) and the symphonic fantasy The Tempest (1873), in using certain characteristics or emotional situations within the play. The essence of the work is the brooding atmosphere depicting Elsinore, but there is an obvious love theme, and a plaintive melody on the oboe can be seen to represent Ophelia.

Tempo Lento lugubre—Allegro vivace
Date of composition 1888 (June - October 1888)
Premiered 1888, November 24th in Saint Petersburg, Russia by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
First published 1890 in Moscow, Russia
Dedicated to Dedicated to Edvard Grieg
Type Overture
Tonality F Minor
Catalogue Op. 67a
Approx. duration 19 minutes
Instruments Orchestra
Arrangements Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky: Hamlet, Op. 67b
Autotranslations beta Piotr Ilitch Tchaïkovski: Hamlet (overture-fantasia) en fa mineur, Op. 67a
Pëtr Il'ič Čajkovskij: Hamlet (overture-fantasia) in fa minore, Op. 67a
Pjotr Iljitsch Tschaikowski: Hamlet (overture-fantasia) f-moll, Op. 67a