Macbeth

by Giuseppe Verdi

The performance history of Macbeth was relatively sparse until it was revived in German in the 1930s; since that time the opera has had continued success, although it did not reach the Metropolitan Opera until 1959.  

Giuseppe Verdi was always fascinated by the plays of Shakespeare;  he wrote three operas based on them, Macbeth, The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Othello. He contemplated a fourth (based on King Lear) but was never able to find the proper libretto.  Macbeth was the earliest of these Shakespeare adaptations, and a work which never quite satisfied the composer. The first version of the opera premiered in 1847 in Florence, but the version best know today is the revision the composer made for the 1865 Parisian revival. 

There is a famous letter in which Verdi states that Lady Macbeth must not have a beautiful voice, but must portray the evil of her character. 

SUMMARY

The opera opens with Macbeth and Banquo, two victorious generals who encounter a group of witches and receive prophetic predictions from them. Macbeth is told he will soon acquire a new title, and therafter become King of Scotland. Banquo is told that he will father a line of kings. The sceneends with the arrival of a messenger who announces that Macbeth has, indeed, been granted a new title.

Back at his castle, Macbeth informs Lady Macbeth that the King will visit their castle that night. Lady Macbeth urges Macbeth to kill the king and seize the throne. At wife's encouragement, Macbeth kills the king while he sleeps. The next morning, the king's aide, Macduff finds the king's body.

Macbeth is proclaimed King but is haunted by the idea that Banquo is to be the founder of a royal dynasty. He shares his thoughts with his wife, who immediately begins to convince her husband to get rid of  Banquo and all male descendants.

Banquo and his son are on their way to Macbeth's Castle when they are attacked by assassins sent by Macbeth. Banquo is slain, but his son, Fleance, manages to escape. Banquo's murder weighs heavily on Macbeth, and he begins to gradually go mad. He collapses during a banquet, after seeing Banquo's ghost. During this he has a dream, wherin he is yet again visited by the witches. They warn him that he must fear Macduff, but not to fear

men born to a woman. They claim that Macbeth is safe until he witnesses Birnam Wood advancing toward him. Lady Macbeth arrives and begs Macbeth to deal not only with Macduff, but also with his entire family and the family of Banquo.

Macduff and Malcolm have gathered a large army and are marching toward Macbeth's castle. The men are told to carry branches from Birnam Wood to hide their advance.

Lady Macbeth dies suddenly and Macbeth defies the fates, ignoring news of the attack. Macduff charges in, declaring that he was not born of woman. Terrified, Macbeth attacks him and flees.

As the sounds of battle diminish, Macbeth enters, mortally wounded. He curses the crown, as he falls dead.

CAST

Macbeth -  Riley McMitchell, Richard Williams   Lady Macbeth -  Annette Ducharme, Sylwia Karwowska  Macduff - Derek Bacchioni, Brent MacKenzie, Lemuel Sanchez-Aldana, Allessandro Alvarado   Banquo - Roberto Solla, Riley McMitchell  Malcolm - Mike Novak   Dama  - LisaMarie Bresett, Iuliia Nikolaeva   Lennox - Richard Williams, Roberto Solla