Music Monday: Macbeth

Plácido Domingo as the title character in Macbeth (2015) in Valencia, Spain; Photo: Tato Baeza

Plácido Domingo as the title character in Macbeth (2015) in Valencia, Spain; Photo: Tato Baeza

There is no better composer than Giuseppe Verdi to tackle the darkly complex tragedy that is Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Fascinated by the supernatural and the bloody betrayal of Macbeth, Verdi composed the original opera in 1847, making dramatic additions in 1865 to create the masterpiece opera. Starring Plácido Domingo, Macbeth will kick off our upcoming season at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion this September.

In the story, Macbeth returns home victorious from battle and seeks out a coven of witches who predict his future. They say he will become King of Scotland. This spurs a blindingly wicked lust for power, propelling Macbeth and Lady Macbeth to commit multiple murders to attain and keep the throne. Verdi’s brings the tragedy to life through gorgeous vocal lines and thrilling, propulsive energy. His music captivates from curtain to curtain.

Take Lady Macbeth for example. She begins as the wife of a general, rises to the wife of a Thane (or Lord in 11th century Scotland) after a coven of witches’ prophesy that she will. Yet, the witches also say that she will be queen and Macbeth will be King. Lady Macbeth’s scheming is evident in her Act I aria, “Nel di della vittoria.” In it, she ponders whether Macbeth will have the wickedness needed to gain the throne now that he has been made Thane of Cawdor.

Want more Macbeth? Stay tuned for a new production starring Plácido Domingo and directed by Darko Tresnjak (The Ghosts of Versailles, 2015) and conducted by James Conlon that will open our 2016/17 season in September.

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