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Opera Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (Opera in 4 acts)
World famous Bolshoi Ballet and Opera theatre (established 1776) - Small Stage

Running time: 3 hours 05 minutes

Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (Opera in 4 acts) 2022

Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Choirmaster producer: Valery Borisov
Light Designer: Damir Ismagilov
Music Director: Marcello Panni
Stage Director: Eimuntas Nekrosius
Set Designer: Marius Nekrosius
Costume Designer: Nadezhda Gultiaeva

Orchestra: Bolshoi Theatre Symphony Orchestra

Premiere of this production: September 8, 2002

Sung in Italian with Russian surtitles.

Presented with one interval.

Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave based on William Shakespeare’s play of the same name


Act I

Scene 1

Returning from battle Macbeth and Banquo happen upon a coven of witches who make three rather unsettling predictions: they promise Macbeth his noble rank shall rise from Thane of Glamis to Thane of Cawdor, and then he shall be king; to Banquo they foretell that kings shall number among his descendants. The witches vanish, leaving the bewildered Macbeth and Banquo to consider what they’ve witnessed. Messengers inform them of the treasonous Thane of Cawdor’s recent execution - Macbeth has been named his successor. Already dark thoughts of ambition begin to cloud his judgment.

Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband detailing his unusual experiences and the swift fulfilment of the first prophesy. She draws the same conclusion as he - their next step must be to usurp the throne. A servant informs his mistress that King Duncan plans to spend the night as their guest.

Late into the night, the Macbeths hash out their deadly scheme. Macbeth hesitantly murders Duncan as he sleeps. His remorse is pronounced, but Lady Macbeth holds strong, returning to the scene of the crime and planting the bloodstained dagger among the king’s sleeping bodyguards to implicate them. As dawn breaks Macduff and Banquo discover the king has been assassinated.

Scene 2

Duncan’s son, Malcolm, has fled Scotland. As a result he is now suspected of the regicide. Macbeth, now crowned king, is still unsettled by the witches’ third prediction - that Banquo’s children shall one day rule. He and his wife concur more blood must flow.

Assassins descend on Banquo and his young son, Fleance. Banquo is killed, but Fleance manages to escape.

A celebration is held in Macbeth’s honour, and Lady Macbeth leads the toast. The assassins quietly confirm that Banquo has been killed, but Fleance remains at large. To his guests, Macbeth notes Banquo’s absence and makes the noble gesture to seat himself at his place. He is visibly horrified to find Banquo’s ghost already seated there. The guests are shocked by the strange behaviour, and Lady Macbeth demands he control himself. To divert everyone’s attention she strikes up the drinking song again, but the ghost returns, and Macbeth loses his composure. Macduff grows suspicious.

Act II

Scene 1

Regrouped for the Sabbath, the witches prepare an unearthly brew. Spectres and demons dance as Hecate, goddess of the night and of sorcery, materializes. Macbeth returns in search of more answers. The powers of darkness yield a helmeted apparition, warning him to beware Macduff. The second spirit, a boy covered with blood, advises him not to fear any man born of a woman. A final apparition, wearing a crown and carrying a sapling, assures him not to worry until Birnam Wood moves against him. Macbeth is reassured but insists on knowing the fate of Banquo’s son. The witches refuse to answer, but Banquo’s progeny is displayed in a parade of eight kings, followed by the re-appearance of Banquo’s ghost. The witches and spirits vanish as Macbeth faints.

The queen arrives. Macbeth confides the strange happenings to his wife. Recognizing Macduff as the most serious threat, they agree Lady Macduff and her children must die.

Scene 2

A chorus of Scottish refugees bewail the plight of their oppressed country under Macbeth’s tyrannous rule. Macduff agonizes over the slaughter of his wife and children. Malcolm arrives with English soldiers. He instructs the army to camouflage themselves with branches from the forest.

The queen’s lady-in-waiting confers with a doctor. Together they observe the strange nocturnal activities of Lady Macbeth. She enters as if in a trance, and while trying to wash imagined blood from her hands, she exposes the hideous details of her crimes.

Macbeth has been informed of the uprising against him. In light of the witches’ promises, he is certain the battle will be won. He receives news of his wife’s suicide but is barely moved. Yet his confidence is shaken by reports of Birnam Wood advancing on the castle.

Macduff is able to penetrate the fortress walls and confronts Macbeth. The king’s belief in the final prophecy is crushed when Macduff reveals that he was not born of a woman the usual way but "… from his mother’s womb untimely ripped." The ensuing battle forces them out of view. Malcolm enters with soldiers, bards and women. Macduff returns with news that Macbeth has been slain. All hail Malcolm as their new king.

  • Characters and performers

    Schedule for Giuseppe Verdi "Macbeth" (Opera in 4 acts) 2022

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