A lavish and critically acclaimed production of Verdi's early masterwork.

Returning victorious from a battle, the Scottish generals Macbeth and Banquo encounter witches who predict that Macbeth will be King of Scotland but that Banquo's children will also be kings. When Lady Macbeth hears that King Duncan is to spend the night at the castle, she persuades Macbeth to kill him so that the first part of the prophesy can be realized. After the deed is done and the King's fugitive son Malcolm accused, Macbeth becomes King of Scotland. To thwart the second part of the prophesy, Lady Macbeth and her husband murder Banquo but fail to kill his son Fleance. Terrified by an apparition of Banquo, Macbeth returns to the witches, who tell him he has nothing to fear as long as Birnam Wood does not march on Dunsinane. Meanwhile, Malcolm and the nobleman Macduff have gathered an army to attack Scotland. At Birnam Wood, the soldiers camouflage themselves with branches and begin to "march on Dunsinane". As the prophesies all come to pass, Lady Macbeth, tormented by guilt, dies; Macbeth, fighting the rebellious army, is killed by Macduff.

With its relentless dramatic continuum, Macbeth, Verdi's early masterpiece and his tenth opera (premiered in Florence on 14 March 1847) rescued the composer from a creative crisis. In Macbeth Verdi created a successful synthesis of music and drama on which he was to guide himself from now on. Director Claude d'Anna and conductor Riccardo Chailly chose the version which Verdi prepared for Paris and was premiered there on 21 April 1865. As to the apparitions and supernatural aspects of the work, d'Anna says that he always "tried to find theatrical rather than cinematic solutions. ... Solutions had to result from the work's own symbolic logic, not simply from technology."


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