A deadly destiny
Giuseppe Verdi (1813 - 1901)
Sung in Italian with English subtitles
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave. First performed Teatro della Pergola, Florence on 14 March 1847
Performed in Italian, with English side-titles
A Buxton Festival production with the Buxton Festival Chorus and The NCO Festival Orchestra
Following his victory in a civil war, the general Macbeth is feted with magical predictions that set he and his wife on a murderous path to destiny as they descend into madness and tyranny.
Stephen Gadd, last seen in Buxton in Lucia di Lammermoor, and Kate Ladner, our Giovanna d’Arco in 2015, lead a stellar cast of singers, conducted by Festival Artistic Director Stephen Barlow and directed by world-renowned Verdi specialist Elijah Moshinsky.
Returning from Battle, Macbeth and Banquo encounter a cabal of witches. They prophesy that Macbeth will be made Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. Banquo however will be the father of a line of Kings. Messengers from King Duncan arrive to give Macbeth the news that he has been made Thane of Cawdor, as the witches predicted.
Learning of this prophecy, Lady Macbeth realises that although Macbeth has the ambition to be King he does not have the strength of character to actually commit Regicide to gain the throne.
She does have this resolve and they both decide to kill the King that night when Duncan visits their castle and implicate his grooms attending him by using their weapons for the act. Lady Macbeth will drug the King and grooms so they will be asleep.
After the arrival of the King, night falls. At a prearranged signal Macbeth enters the King’s Chamber and executes the murder. Macbeth emerges from the murder still bearing the daggers used to execute the murder. Lady Macbeth returns the daggers and smears the grooms with blood. They both retire to wash the blood from their hands.
Macduff and Banquo enter to wake the King and discover the horror of the murder.
The world is thrown into chaos. Macbeth and Lady Macbeth lead a chorus of lamentation.
Duncan’s son Malcolm has fled the country, under suspicion for his father’s murder and Macbeth is now King. Macbeth is still haunted by the prophecy that Banquo, not he, will found a royal line. To prevent this he tells his wife that he will have both Banquo and his son murdered.
On their way to the Banquet that will celebrate Macbeth’s Coronation. Banquo is assassinated but his son Fleance escapes the murderers.
At the Banquet Macbeth and his wife welcome their dinner guests. Banquo’s death is reported to Macbeth, but when he returns to the gathering he sees the ghost of Banquo is sitting in his place. Macbeth rages at the ghost and the horrified guests look on with disbelief. Lady Macbeth’s attempts to bring order to the banquet, but Macbeth is again pursued by the vision of the dead Banquo.
Macbeth is now horrorfied by the idea of the dead can rise from their graves and decides that he must visit the weird sisters to understand this mystery. Macduff realises that he is in danger and must leave Scotland .
Macbeth visits the witches who 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 until Birnam Wood marches against him.
He demands to know more about the future and the witches show him an eternal line of Kings derived from Banquo.
The horror of these visions creates a rage against destiny in him. Not only will he kill the entire Macduff family but he wants the blood to flow throughout Scotland.
Refugees from Scotland lament the fate of their country. Macduff is determined to avenge the deaths of his wife and children at the hands of Macbeth’.
Malcolm arrives with his English army to reclaim his throne from Macbeth and rouses the refugees to join him.
Lady Macbeth walks in her sleep .Her eyes are open but she is asleep.
As the English army approaches, Lady Macbeth commits suicide.
Macbeth contemplates her body and realises the absurdity of his life:
Life’s but a walking shadow … It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Determined to fight to the end he calls his men.
During the battle he finds himself facing Macduff who is determined to kill the murderer of his wife and children. Macbeth believes himself invincible because of the weird sisters’ prophecy that no man of woman born can take his life .Macduff reveals that he was ‘untimely ripped from his mother’s womb’. Macduff mortally wounds Macbeth and as Malcolm claims the victory, the wounded Macbeth ,in his dying anguish curses the fate that led him to this death.
Chorus Master & Assistant Conductor
The NCO Festival Orchestra
7 July 2017
11 July 2017
14 July 2017
18 July 2017
21 July 2017
£20 - £75
Buxton Opera House