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The Stars of the White Nights 2018
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02 July 2017 (Sun), 17:00 World famous Mariinsky Ballet and Opera - established 1783 - Stars of the Stars World Opera Star Placido Domingo Opera Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts) Conducted by Maestro Gergiev Tickets available only at

Running time: 2 hours 55 minutes (till 19:55)

The performance has 1 intermission

Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts) 2017/2018

Conductor: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Tenor: Placido Domingo
Mezzo soprano: Ekaterina Semenchuk

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Principal Chorus Master: Andrei Petrenko
Musical Director: Maestro Valery Gergiev
Musical Preparation: Irina Soboleva
Stage Director: David McVicar
Costume Designer: Tanya McCallin
Lighting Designer: David Cunningham
Piano: Irina Soboleva

Orchestra: Mariinsky Theatre Symphony Orchestra
Opera company: Mariinsky (Kirov) Opera

Opera in 4 act

Performed in Italian the performance will have synchronised Russian supertitles

World premiere: 14 March 1847, Teatro della Pergola, Florence, Italy
Premiere of this production: 18 April 2001, Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg, Russia

Giuseppe Verdi was always fascinated by the plays of Shakespeare; he wrote three operas based on them, and contemplated a fourth (based on King Lear) but was never able to find the proper libretto. Macbeth was the earliest of these Shakespeare adaptations, and a work which never quite satisfied the composer. The first version of the opera premiered in 1847 in Florence, but the version best known today is the revision the composer made for the 1865 Parisian revival. The changes include a new aria for Lady Macbeth in Act Two, the addition of a ballet scene for the witches, and the removal of Macbeth's death scene. In nearly every scene, there are at least some minor changes. There is a famous letter in which Verdi states that Lady Macbeth must not have a beautiful voice, but must portray the evil of her character. It is difficult to reconcile this statement with the music he composed for her, which is some of the most florid, difficult, and dramatic of his career. Her entrance begins with a spoken reading of the letter from Macbeth, followed by a recitative. In her Sleepwalking scene, we find Verdi at his most dramatic, with the vocal line being more spoken than sung, yet at the end she is required to rise to a high D flat as softly as possible. The title role, while not as complex, requires considerable dramatic flair, as well as the bel canto line to bring off his aria, "Pietà, rispetto, amore." Of the secondary characters, Macduff and Banquo are most notable, and both have lovely arias. Shakespeare's three witches become a three-part chorus whose music inspires more laughter than fear in this setting. Choruses denouncing tyranny often brought out the best in Verdi, and so it is not surprising that the patriotic choral outcry before Macduff's aria is among the strongest pieces in the work. The ballet music written for the premiere of the revised version in Paris is usually omitted today without much harm to the score. The performance history of Macbeth was relatively sparse until it was revived in German in the 1930s; since that time the opera has had continued success, although it did not reach the Metropolitan Opera until 1959. Part of the problem was the casting of Lady Macbeth. Although it asks for high Cs, and even a D flat, in the Sleepwalking scene, the role lies very low for most sopranos. The early German revivals often cast the role with a mezzo-soprano; today the role is entrusted to any singer who feels that she can adequately portray the role. Two of the greatest singing actresses of the twentieth century had a great success with the role: Maria Callas (although she only sang it five times) and Leonie Rysanek (who sang the Metropolitan Opera premiere). In its best moments, Macbeth conveys all of the drama of Shakespeare and melds it with some of Verdi's finest music.

Libretto - Francesco Maria Piave,
after the tragedy by William Shakespeare

Original Design - Tanya McCallin
Original Lighting Design - Davy Cunningham


Act 1

Scotland in the 11th century. Groups of witches gather in a wood beside a battlefield. The victorious generals Macbeth and Banquo enter. The witches hail Macbeth as Thane of Glamis, Thane of Cawdor, and king "hereafter." Banquo is greeted as the founder of a great line of future kings. The witches vanish, and messengers from the king appear naming Macbeth Thane of Cawdor.

At their castle, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband telling of the encounter with the witches. She is determined to propel Macbeth to the throne (’Vieni! t’affretta!’). It is announced that King Duncan will stay in the castle that night and when Macbeth enters she urges him to take the opportunity to kill him. The King and the nobles arrive. Macbeth is emboldened to carry out the murder (’Mi si affaccia un pugnal?’), but afterwards is filled with horror. Lady Macbeth, disgusted at his cowardice, completes the crime, incriminating the sleeping guards by smearing them with Duncan’s blood and planting on them Macbeth’s dagger. The murder is discovered by Macduff. A chorus calls on God to avenge the killing (’Schiudi, inferno, . .’).

Act 2

Macbeth is now king, but disturbed by the prophecy that Banquo, not him, will found a great royal line. To prevent this he tells his wife that he will have both Banquo and his son murdered as they come to a banquet. Lady Macbeth exults in the powers of darkness (’La luce langue’). Outside the castle a gang of murderers lie in wait. Banquo is apprehensive (’Come dal ciel precipita’). He is caught but enables his son Fleanzio to escape. In a hall in the castle, Macbeth receives the guests and Lady Macbeth sings a brindisi (’Si colmi il calice’). The assassination is reported to Macbeth, but when he returns to the table the ghost of Banco is sitting in his place. Macbeth raves at the ghost and the horrified guests believe he has gone mad. The banquet ends abruptly with their hurried, frightened departure.

Act 3

The witches gather around a cauldron in a dark cave. Macbeth enters and they conjure up three apparitions for him. The first advises him to beware of Macduff. The second tells him that he cannot be harmed by a man ’born of woman’. The third that he cannot be conquered till Birnam Wood marches against him. Macbeth is then shown the ghost of Banquo and his descendants, eight future Kings of Scotland, verifying the original prophecy. He collapses and regains consciousness in the castle. Macbeth and his wife resolve to extirpate the families of Macduff and Banquo (’Ora di morte e di vendetta’).

Act 4

A chorus of Scottish refugees (’Patria oppressa’) stand near the English border. In the distance lies Birnam Wood. Macduff is determined to avenge the deaths of his wife and children at the hands of the tyrant (’Ah la paterna mano’). He is joined by Malcolm, the son of King Duncan, and the English army. Malcolm orders each soldier to cut a branch from a tree in Birnam Wood and carry it as they attack Macbeth’s army. They are determined to liberate Scotland from tyranny (’La patria tradita’).

In Macbeth’s castle a doctor and a servant observe the Queen as she walks in her sleep, wringing her hands and attempting to clean them of blood (’Una macchia’). Macbeth has learned that an army is advancing against him but is reassured by remembering the words of the apparitions. (’Pietà, rispetto amore’) He receives the news of the Queen’s death with indifference. Rallying his troops he learns that Birnam Wood has indeed come to his castle. Battle is joined. Macduff pursues and kills Macbeth, telling him that he was not ’born’ of woman but ’cut’ from his mother’s womb. The opera ends with a hymn to victory sung by bards, soldiers, and Scottish women.

Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (opera in four acts) 2017/2018

Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" : Anna Netrebko - Macbeth - Vieni, t'affretta...Or tutti, sorgete
About This Video
Anna Netrebko - Macbeth - Vieni, t'affretta...Or tutti, sorgete
Conductor - Maestro Gergiev
May 2, 2013

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