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03 July 2023 (Mon), 19:00 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783 - Stars of the Stars Conducted by Maestro Gergiev Opera Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts)

Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes (till 21:55)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts) 2022

Conductor: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Mezzo soprano: Ekaterina Semenchuk

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Musical Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva
Stage Director: David McVicar
Costume Designer: Tanya McCallin
Lighting Designer: David Cunningham

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Opera in 4 act

Performed in Italian the performance will have synchronised Russian supertitles

World premiere: 14 March 1847, Teatro della Pergola, Florence, Italy
Premiere of this production: 18 April 2001, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

Giuseppe Verdi was always fascinated by the plays of Shakespeare; he wrote three operas based on them, and 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 known today is the revision the composer made for the 1865 Parisian revival. The changes include a new aria for Lady Macbeth in Act Two, the addition of a ballet scene for the witches, and the removal of Macbeth's death scene. In nearly every scene, there are at least some minor changes. 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. It is difficult to reconcile this statement with the music he composed for her, which is some of the most florid, difficult, and dramatic of his career. Her entrance begins with a spoken reading of the letter from Macbeth, followed by a recitative. In her Sleepwalking scene, we find Verdi at his most dramatic, with the vocal line being more spoken than sung, yet at the end she is required to rise to a high D flat as softly as possible. The title role, while not as complex, requires considerable dramatic flair, as well as the bel canto line to bring off his aria, "Pietà, rispetto, amore." Of the secondary characters, Macduff and Banquo are most notable, and both have lovely arias. Shakespeare's three witches become a three-part chorus whose music inspires more laughter than fear in this setting. Choruses denouncing tyranny often brought out the best in Verdi, and so it is not surprising that the patriotic choral outcry before Macduff's aria is among the strongest pieces in the work. The ballet music written for the premiere of the revised version in Paris is usually omitted today without much harm to the score. 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. Part of the problem was the casting of Lady Macbeth. Although it asks for high Cs, and even a D flat, in the Sleepwalking scene, the role lies very low for most sopranos. The early German revivals often cast the role with a mezzo-soprano; today the role is entrusted to any singer who feels that she can adequately portray the role. Two of the greatest singing actresses of the twentieth century had a great success with the role: Maria Callas (although she only sang it five times) and Leonie Rysanek (who sang the Metropolitan Opera premiere). In its best moments, Macbeth conveys all of the drama of Shakespeare and melds it with some of Verdi's finest music.

Libretto - Francesco Maria Piave,
after the tragedy by William Shakespeare

Original Design - Tanya McCallin
Original Lighting Design - Davy Cunningham


Act I 
Three witches appear and describe their evil deeds. When they hear a drum heralding Macbeth’s approach, they break into dance and song. Macbeth and Banco, two generals in Duncan’s army, arrive. The witches greet Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland; they hail Banco as the father of future kings. Messengers arrive to announce the fulfillment of the first prophecy. To Banco’s alarm, Macbeth reflects on gaining the throne. Lady Macbeth reads a letter from Macbeth telling her of his victory in battle and of the witches’ prophecy. She revolves to help him fulfil it. When a messenger announces that the King is on his way to the castle with Macbeth, she realises they must act that night and calls on the powers of evil to help her. Macbeth appears, and husband and wife quickly agree to the murder. King Duncan and his retinue arrive. A vision of a dagger prompts Macbeth to go and kill Duncan. But when he returns, wracked with remorse, his wife accuses him of cowardice. She snatches the dagger and goes off to the King’s rooms to incriminate the guards, returning with bloody hands to her now guilt-stricken husband. Macduff and Banco appear. While Macduff goes to wake the King, Banco reflects on the stormy night. Macduff discovers the murder and wakes the house. Everyone vows vengeance on the unknown assassin.

Act II 
Macbeth is now King of Scotland and Duncan’s son Malcolm, blamed for his father’s death, has fled to England. Because the witches prophesied that Banco would be a father of kings, Macbeth and his wife now plot to kill him and his sons; Lady Macbeth is triumphant… Assassins in Macbeth’s service wait for Banco in the dark. He and his son Fleanzio arrive, Banco uneasy with foreboding. Banco is murdered but his son escapes. 
Macbeth and his queen welcome guests to a feast and she proposes a toast. An assassin arrives and tells Macbeth what has happened in the park. Macbeth offers an explanation for Banco’s absence, but when he goes to sit down he sees the ghost of Banco. Lady Macbeth tries to calm her husband and the troubled guests. The ghost reappears and Lady Macbeth is unable to control her demented husband. The Scottish nobles fear their land is now in the grip of criminals and Macduff decides to join the exiles.

Act III 
On a stormy night the witches invoke evil spirits as they brew their magic potions. Macbeth arrives and asks them to prophesy his destiny. In response they conjure up three apparitions who, in turn, warn him to beware of Macduff, that he need fear ‘none born of woman’, and that he will invincible until Birnam Wood marches on his castle. The witches then summon the apparition of eight kings who pass Macbeth, followed by Banco carrying a mirror. Terrified, Macbeth recognises them as Banco’s descendants. Macbeth faints and the witches dance round him, then disappear. Recovering, he vows to destroy Macduff and his family.

Act IV 
Scottish refugees lament the suffering of their oppressed homeland and its wretched people. Macdufff is distraught at the news of his wife’s and children’s murders. Malcolm arrives, leading a troop of English soldiers, and urges Macduff to find comfort in exacting revenge. Malcolm rallies the refugees to join forces in attacking Macbeth, using branches from the wood as camouflage. 
Lady Macbeth, who has taken to sleepwalking, describes and relives the atrocities she and her husband have committed. Macbeth, in desperation, awaits the advancing troops and reflects on his impending downfall. He is so distraught that he fails to react to the news of his wife’s death. When soldiers announce that Birnam Wood is on the move, he recalls the witches’ prophecy. A bare field. English soldiers carrying branches are advancing. Macbeth appears, pursued by Macduff. The other two prophecies are now fulfilled: Macduff reveals that he was not born naturally but surgically removed from his mother’s womb; in the ensuing fight Macbeth falls to Macduff’s sword. Malcolm is proclaimed King.

Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts) 2022

Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" : Anna Netrebko - Macbeth - Vieni, t'affretta...Or tutti, sorgete
About This Video
Anna Netrebko - Macbeth - Vieni, t'affretta...Or tutti, sorgete
Conductor - Maestro Gergiev
May 2, 2013

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