Verdi's Macbeth

Luca Ronconi (stage director), Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor) — With Renato Bruson (Macbeth) and Mara Zampieri (Lady Macbeth) — Deutsche Oper Berlin, 1987

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Luca Ronconi — Stage director

Luciano Damiani — Set designer, costume designer

Chorus of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Marcus Creed — Chorus master

Orchestra of the Deutsche Oper Berlin

Giuseppe Sinopoli — Music director

Goetz Rose — Duncan

David Griffith — Malcolm

Renato Bruson — Macbeth

Mara Zampieri — Lady Macbeth

James Morris — Banquo

Dennis O'Neill — Macduff

Program notes

Cupidity and madness at the heart of this solemn production of Macbeth by Luca Ronconi.

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.

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