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Giuseppe Verdi 1813—1901

Opera in  4 acts
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave & Andrea Maffei after William Shakespeare
World premiere March 14 1847, Teatro della Pergola, Florence

Sung in Italian with German & English surtitles
Introductory talks (in German) begin in the Holzfoyer 30 mins before curtain up and appear here shortly after opening night

There's a chamber music concert at 11am on December 22, inspired by Verdi's Macbeth.


Conductor Thomas Guggeis / Simone Di Felice

Macbeth Nicholas Brownlee / Domen Križaj
Banco Kihwan Sim / Andreas Bauer Kanabas
Lady Macbeth Tamara Wilson
Macduff Matteo Lippi
Lady-in-waiting Karolina Bengtsson / Caterina Marchesini°
Malcolm Kudaibergen Abildin
Doctor Erik van Heyningen

°Member of the Opera Studio

What Macbeth thinks are prophesies are expressions of his own suppressed dreams and fears. Goaded on by his wife, who’s no less ambitious, he commits murder, which leads to more murders, creating a gruesome system of oppression. But the tyrant Macbeth and his wife are plagued by pangs of conscience. They’re both psychologically shattered - in different ways. In the end, the oppressed populace rebel, putting an end to an unjust regime.

In a domestic setting surrounding this childless, murderous couple, mechanisms of violent rule become apparent that can be found on a larger scale: World politics are reflected in a private sphere. From this perspective the story of a medieval Scottish despot seems frighteningly relevant today.

In 1847 Verdi wrote, inspired by his idol William Shakespeare, a largely experimental score, which broke the shackles of hitherto time-honoured forms. Instead of tailoring the subject matter for the stage, as was usual, the composer made his music fit the play, which he tried to mirror as closely as possible. This resulted in a thrilling, sombre opera.