Macbeth - Further information

Macbeth: Anna Netrebko, Simon Keenlyside Macbeth: Anna Netrebko Macbeth: Simon Keenlyside, Anna Netrebko
Giuseppe Verdi
Francesco Maria Piave after William Shakespeare

World première on March 14, 1847 - Teatro della Pergola, Florence


Eerily, the characters in Giuseppe Verdi’s “Macbeth” take us along on a journey into their unutterable emotions. The music reveals their secrets and masterfully shows us the uniqueness of Italian opera, which Verdi takes radically beyond its traditional borders. In the loveliest tones, the two protagonists reveal their passionate, spooky emotions. But behind this beauty lurks an abyss, which Verdi unveils in one of the cruelest dramas in world literature. To gain power, and, once gained, retain it, Macbeth and his lady commit one murder after another. The unconditionality of their zeal imparts a radicality that had previously been unthinkable in opera. “The subject matter of the opera is neither political nor religious: it is fantastic” wrote Verdi, thus bringing Shakespeare’s inspiration closer to a more “romantic” approach. And indeed, the witches, ghosts and apparitions, the mysteriousness, which, along with the singing and the stage action, dominate the entire world of this opera, can all be interpreted as the inner states of its protagonists.

English translation: Donald Arthur
© Bavarian State Opera