Scotland. 11th century. On their way back from a victory over the Norwegian army, Macbeth, King Duncan's cousin, and Banquo, Macbeth's friend, encounter a witches' assembly which foretells to Macbeth that he would soon accede to the throne. Under the influence of his wife, Macbeth premeditates thus to murder the King. However Lady Macbeth, observing that her husband wavers to give the fatal blow, grabs the dagger and commits herself the regicide. The couple caught up in a spiral of violence runs inevitably towards a fatal ending, a fatal ending brilliantly brought round by Verdi's score which dramatic tension never falls off.
Preceding Otello, Falstaff and an unfinished King Lear, Macbeth is the first adaptation by Verdi of a Shakespearian play. Even though the opera's first version dates back to 1847, nowadays performances prefer to stage the revised version of 1865 in which Verdi introduced new arias, including the famous La Luce langue in the second act. Luca Ranconi's production favours sobriety and dark scenery in order to plunge the public in the gloomy psychology of the protagonists. Consumed by avidity, the Macbeth couple is brilliantly brought to life by Renato Bruson and Mara Zampieri, accompanied in their unavoidable fall towards paranoia and madness by the energetic Giuseppe Sinopoli conducing the Deutshe Oper Berlin's orchestra.
Vladimir Jurowski, Richard Jones – Christopher Purves (Falstaff), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Mistress Quickly), Jennifer Holloway (Meg Page) – Glyndebourne Festival
Antoni Ros-Marbà, Willy Decker – Giorgio Giuseppini (Lodovico), José Cura (Otello), Vittorio Grigolo (Cassio) – Gran Teatre del Liceu
Riccardo Muti, Liliana Cavani – Salvatore Licitra (Riccardo), Maria Guleghina (Amelia) – Teatro alla Scala