Macbeth


Giuseppe Verdi (1813 – 1901)

Oper in vier Akten;
Dichtung von Francesco Maria Piave und Andrea Maffei nach William Shakespeare;
Uraufführung am 14. März 1847 in Florenz [1. Fassung], am 21. April 1865 in Paris [2. Fassung];
Berliner Premiere am 12. Juni 2011

In italienischer Sprache mit deutschen Übertiteln

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Witches prophesy that Macbeth will become King of Scotland. Not he, but Banquo, will however be the progenitor of future kings. Driven by the relentless greed for power of wife, murdering the king and numerous atrocities enable him to take possession of the crown and ascend the throne of Scotland. In the pursuit of this goal, he destroys everything in his way. Inevitably, the price for this is madness: Lady Macbeth cannot free herself from the blood of the murdered King Duncan – the tyrant himself cannot escape the sinister prophecy of the witches.

»The subject of the opera is neither political nor religious: it is fantastic« – Giuseppe Verdi's appraisal of what is surely William Shakespeare's most sinister strongly suggests its relegation to the genre of the »romantic opera«. Witches, ghosts, apparitions, all uncanny, scenes dominated by chanting, can in fact be understood as externally depicting the inner states of the protagonists: owing to the fundamentally romantic orientation MACBETH is far more an invitation to psychological analysis than were many of the preceding works, from NABUCCO via ERNANI to ATTILA.

In his efforts to reflect Shakespeare's model, Verdi did not allow himself or his librettists, Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffei, any venialities. Determined »to achieve something more than the ordinary«, the composer was implacable in his demands. He thus succeeded in creating musically developed personalities as never before seen, and he distanced himself from the conventions of traditional Italian opera to a degree unparalleled.

The subtlety of human characterisation, which enables even the most harmless figure to literally walk over dead bodies without inhibition in order to seize power and cling to this power - mostly achieved by wrongful means - lays the groundwork in MACBETH for the modern psychological opera far more frequently associated with the Wagnerian music drama.

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»I am aware that you intend to perform Macbeth and, as this opera is more important to me than all the others, allow me to say a few words about this opera. One has assigned the role of Lady Macbeth to Tadolini, and I am amazed that she declared herself in agreement with this. […] Signora Tadolini has an attractive and a good figure, but I would like Lady Macbeth to be ugly and wicked. Tadolini sings with perfection, but I do not wish the Lady to sing. Tadolini has a fantastic, clear, pure, powerful voice, but I would like the Lady to have a harsh, stifled, muffled voice. Indeed, her voice possesses something angelic, but I would like something diabolical.« Giuseppe Verdi

Eine Produktion der Oper Köln; Premiere am 5. April 1998

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Accompanying Programme

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Accompanying Programme

Einführung: 45 Minuten vor Vorstellungsbeginn im Rang-Foyer rechts