8th, 20th December 2015 · 6:00 pm
11th, 14th, 17th December 2015 · 8:00 pm
Anna Maria Heinreich
Teatro dell’Opera di Roma
Cor de la Generalitat Valenciana
Francesc Perales, chorus master
Orquestra de la Comunitat Valenciana
Fabian Lara *
Lady in waiting
Federica Alfano *
Lluís Martínez **
Servant to Macbeth
Boro Giner **
Pablo Aranday *
Juan Felipe Durá **
* Centre Plácido Domingo
** Cor de la Generalitat
Scene one. Witches gather on the heath in the midst of thunder and lightning. Two generals serving King Duncan of Scotland, Macbeth and Banquo, steadily approach, returning victorious from battle. They come across the witches, who predict the future of both men: Macbeth shall be Thane of Cawdor before becoming king, and Banquo’s children shall rule after Macbeth. The witches vanish, leaving the two generals bewildered. Their bewilderment increases when messengers from King Duncan appear naming Macbeth Thane of Cawdor: the prophecy has come true and it awakens a sudden ambition for power and feelings of mistrust between the two friends.
Scene two. In Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband telling of his strange encounter with the witches on the heath, their prophecy and, what is more important, the fact that it has been fulfilled. Determined to push her husband along the path to power, and considering him to be weak of character, Lady Macbeth decides to take matters into her own hands. Therefore, when a servant informs her that King Duncan will be staying in the castle that night, she is determined to kill him to make the final prophecy come true. When Macbeth returns, and King Duncan and his guards are in a deep sleep, Lady Macbeth does not hesitate to urge her fainthearted husband to kill the king. Macbeth hesitates, dagger in hand. Amidst an inner conflict between his thirst for power and his scruples, he stabs the sleeping king and returns to his wife’s side, overcome by fear. She then enters the chamber, murders the two guards -who were also sleeping-, smears their faces with blood and places the dagger in their hands to incriminate them in the murder of Duncan, King of Scotland. A short time later, the Scottish nobleman Macduff arrives at the castle to wake the King so that they may continue on their way, and he discovers the terrible scene.
Scene one. Macbeth has been crowned king of Scotland, but he is tormented by the witches’ prophecy for Banquo: that Banquo’s children shall rule one day. Again it is Lady Macbeth who provides him with a solution: Banquo and his son must die. They decide to carry out their bloody plan.
Scene two. Not far from Macbeth’s castle a gang of murderers lie in wait for Banquo and his son to pass by. When the general appears, he seems to have a sense of foreboding about his own death, because of what happened on the heath and the death of King Duncan, and he voices his thoughts to his son. While they are talking, they are both attacked by the murderers hired by Macbeth and his wife, but only Banquo is killed. His son manages to escape, making it possible for the prophecy to come true. Banquo, although dead, could still be the father of a king.
Scene three. A banquet is held in Macbeth’s honour, to celebrate that he has recently been crowned king. The guests gather in the banquet hall, but Banquo’s seat remains empty. The murderers inform the new king of the death of who was once his friend and, just as Macbeth prepares to take his seat, he finds that Banquo’s ghost is sitting in his place. Macbeth is horrified and panics, even though he is the only person who can see the apparition. Despite the efforts of Lady Macbeth to blame her husband’s reaction on the overindulgences of the evening, the banquet comes to an abrupt end. The guests are suspicious of the king’s behaviour: the blood stain on Macbeth’s hands, invisible to the eye, colours the guests’ thoughts.
One scene. The witches gather around a bubbling cauldron in a dark cave. They are invoking Hecate, the goddess of witchcraft. Outside a storm is raging. Macbeth enters the cave and asks the witches for new prophecies: an apparition warns him to beware of Macduff. Another spirit, a child covered in blood, tells him not to be afraid, as he cannot be harmed by a man “born of woman”. Another child, this time wearing a crown and carrying a branch of a tree as a sceptre, tells him not to worry until Birnam Wood moves against him. Finally, and making him even more afraid, eight kings appear in a procession led by Banquo, their ancestor. Macbeth faints at the sight and wakes again in the arms of his wife. When Macbeth tells her what he has just been told, she resolves to kill Macduff and Banquo’s son.
Scene one. A deserted place on the border between Scotland and England, with Birnam Wood in the distance. A group of Scottish refugees are fleeing from Macbeth’s bloody tyrannous rule. Macbeth has ordered Macduff and his family to be killed. Malcolm, the son of the murdered King Duncan, resolves to attack Macbeth at the head of the English army, and he instructs the soldiers to camouflage themselves with branches from Birnam Wood.
Scene two. In Macbeth’s castle, a doctor is being consulted about Lady Macbeth’s strange ailment. Her lady-in-waiting describes Lady Macbeth’s strange behaviour at night. The crime has undoubtedly disturbed her mind, as she walks in her sleep raving and consumed with guilt.
Scene three. Meanwhile, a furious and powerless Macbeth receives the news that Malcolm, son of the Scottish king Duncan, has sided with the English army. In a new wave of remorse, which is cloaked with a sense of loss, Macbeth imagines how peaceful his life would have been as an old man, free from the guilt of spilt blood that now threatens him. He receives the news of his wife’s death with indifference, and he is astonished to see Birnam Wood advancing in the distance, leaving him little time to defend his castle.
Scene four. Malcolm’s troops together with Macduff, attack Macbeth. Macbeth and Macduff become involved in a fatal duel. Macduff seeks revenge for the death of his wife and children, but Macbeth remains tranquil in the knowledge of the witches’ prophecy that prevents him from dying at the hands of any man “born of woman”. But Macduff crushes all Macbeth’s hopes when he tells him he was not “born of woman” in the usual way, but was ripped from his mother’s womb. Macbeth falls defeated and, outside the castle, Malcolm’s English troops rise in victory.