Dutch National Opera presents
Power-grabbing, murderous and bloodthirsty thriller
Melodramma in quattro atti
Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave
World premiere 14 March 1847, Teatro della Pergola, Florence
Premiere 3 April 2015
Giuseppe Verdi’s ‘Scottish’ opera Macbeth does not have a romantic storyline, as in so many other operas: here, it’s all about the securing the most power. Egged on by an evil spouse, the ambitious but weak title character will stop at nothing in order to become king.
Verdi was a great admirer of Shakespeare, and Macbeth was the first of the Englishman’s plays Verdi set to music. Here we meet the ‘new’ Verdi, who places empathy and expression above beauty of sound. Everything must serve the drama. The declamation of text sometimes overstretches the limits of classical vocal technique. Literally reading aloud a letter from Lady Macbeth was, for that time, 1847, revolutionary.
Following Prokofiev’s The Gambler (2013), chief conductor Marc Albrecht and stage director Andrea Breth once again join forces. Scott Hendricks (at Dutch National Opera as Graf Tamare in Die Gezeichneten and Riccardo in I puritani) and Nadja Michael sing the leading roles.
Andrea Breth is one of the major directors in German-language theatre. She has received numerous prizes. The success of her uncut production of Shakespeare’s Hamlet at the Burgtheater Wien (2013) made her the obvious choice to director the Shakespeare-based opera Macbeth. Breth knows how to stimulate singers to dig deeply into their characters. Her intensive psychological approach is the result of thorough analysis of the libretto.
Team, Cast and Chorus
- Marc Albrecht
- Stage Director
- Andrea Breth
- Set Designer
- Martin Zehetgruber
- Costume Designer
- Eva Dessecker
- Lighting Designer
- Alexander Koppelman
- Klaus Bertisch
- Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra
- Dutch National Opera Chorus
- Chorus Master
- Ching-Lien Wu
- Scott Hendricks / Tommi Hakala
- Vitalij Kowaljow
- Lady Macbeth
- Amarilli Nizza
- Dama di lady Macbeth
- Letitia Singleton
- Wookyung Kim / Yosep Kang
- Vincenzo Costanzo
- Medico / Servo di Macbeth
- Lukas Jakobski
- Peter Arink
Verdi clearly enjoyed composing supernatural scenes, such as those with witches, the appearance of the queen and the spirit of Banquo. Much of the action takes place in the imagination of Macbeth, who is driven from one crime to the next in his thirst for the crown - until he himself becomes a victim. Verdi delves into the psyche of Lady Macbeth; its climax is the famous sleepwalking scene: even this ruthless woman cracks under the enormous psychological pressure. A number of Scotsmen have fled to England to prepare for the fall of the tyrant Macbeth. In the fourth act they bewail the fate of their homeland in the moving chorus ‘Patria oppressa’, another musical and dramatic climax.
Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra
The Netherlands’ finest orchestras are invited to accompany DNO productions. Our regular partner is the Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra|Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Under former chief conductor Hartmut Haenchen the orchestra cemented its excellent reputation with Der Ring des Nibelungen. In 2014-2015: Gurre-Lieder, Lohengrin, La bohème and Macbeth (Netherlands Philharmonic Orchestra); Il viaggio a Reims and Die Zauberflöte (Netherlands Chamber Orchestra).
Every performance of National Opera & Ballet is preceded by an introductory talk (in Dutch). Learn more, enjoy more. The introduction begins 45 minutes before curtain and is held in the foyer of the second balcony. The introduction is free of charge to everyone attending the performance, and amplification is used to enhance audibility. Several days prior to the premiere, the introduction will be made available digitally as a podcast. Check this page to see if the podcast has already been made available.
‘A performance that demands the utmost concentration and which poses crucial existential questions, and which was rewarded with a long ovation.’