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A revolt of nature in Verdi´s Macbeth

2. 6. 2015

The last opera premiere of the National Theatre´s soon ending season is Giuseppe Verdi´s Macbeth on 11th and 13th June, 2015. The bloodbath based on Shakespeare´s tragedy offers State Opera audiences a new perspective on the famous opera composer. In the musical direction by conductor Jiří Štrunc the title role will be performed by Bulgarian baritone Anton Keremidtchiev or Martin Bárta and next season also by Richard Haan. The role of Lady Macbeth was entrusted to one of the most outstanding personalities of the Prague opera ensemble Anda-Louise Bogza and to Slovak soprano Jolana Fogašová. The opera is directed by a sought out Slovak theatre director Martin Čičvák.

The Prague audiences know conductor Jiří Štrunc mainly from his intensive work with the State Opera Orchestra. The upcoming production of Macbeth is his first encounter with this opera as a conductor. "When reading the score you can see how this work was important for further development of Verdi.  You can hear a wide range of moments from Macbeth also in Aida, Simon Boccanegra, or in Don Carlos. Just like Shakespeare, Verdi created a work very concise, full of short scenes, which are however filled with overwhelming intensity of the musical-dramatic expression. Verdi reworked his first version from 1847, which he made just with operas that he really liked," says conductor Jiří Štrunc.

The artistic management of the State Opera offered cooperation on the musical direction as the second conductor to a distinctive personality of the upcoming generation of conductors Marek Šedivý, who also just a few days before stunned spectators at the 70th International Music Festival Prague Spring. He will debut at the State Opera in the first reprise of Macbeth on 23 June 2015. "Opera as a genre attracts me especially due to the long process of creating productions, where acts are born scene after scene and where the ideas of the conductor, director, choirmaster, soloists and many other production members meet and gradually create a musical-dramatic piece," notes Šedivý of his first experience at the State Opera.

"In the case of Macbeth the key principle of staging is a huge boulder, overturned mountain or if you may a meteorite overshadowing the light of the sun," says the director Martin Čičvák and continues: "There are numerous quotes of the lack of light and falling shadows in Macbeth. And as nature does in Shakespeare, also in our play it will revolt in a big fashion, like in the film by Lars von Trier Melancholia. The owl attacks the eagle, mare eats its young, night turns into day and the Birnam woods move. In our efforts, most of all, I see the need to get rid of the theatricality. Because, in the moment when the theatre begins to stink of theatre, it’s over."

The new opera season 2015/2016 begins at the National Theatre on 21 August, 2015 at The State Opera with Bizet's Carmen. The performance will be the debut of Canadian mezzo-soprano Mireille Lebel at The State Opera.