An opera-thriller about the corrupting force of power
Tickets can be purchased on the website of the National Theatre, the Main Box office of the National Theatre on the New Stage is reopened. The other box offices remain closed until further notice.
The State OperaApproximate running time
2 hours 50 minutes, 1 intermission 20 minutesLanguage
In Italian, subtitles in Czech, EnglishPremiere
June 11, 2015
Rampant ambition, unbridled lust for power and mysterious oracles – these are the ingredients of the psychological opera-thriller and the first of the three unique creative unions between Giuseppe Verdi and William Shakespeare.
The State Opera Chorus and Orchestra
Throughout his life, Giuseppe Verdi was an ardent admirer of William Shakespeare, the globally celebrated Elizabethan playwright. When in the summer of 1846 the Italian master sought the subject for his tenth opera, he ultimately opted for Macbeth. A supreme operatic dramatist, Verdi recognised how much potential the story of the corrupting force of power offered. In Macbeth, he started pursuing the path towards musical drama, in which singing reflects the characters’ psychology and inner emotions, with the dramatic content being far more important than bel canto.
For the Italian opera scene, Macbeth was a bold choice indeed. Lacking a love story, which was unprecedented for the genre, with the plot replete with violence, murder, military conflict, gruesome actions and supernatural elements, the big question was how the local audience would respond to the piece. Yet the first night, on 14 March 1847 in Florence, conducted by Verdi himself, was a resounding success. The new opera was soon staged to great acclaim all over Italy, as well as in a number of theatres in Europe, North and South America. In 1865, Verdi substantially revised it for the Théâtre-Lyrique in Paris, which presented the new version, in French translation, on 21 April that year. The second Macbeth, however, was poorly received and did not fare well. Only in the 1960s did the opera enjoy a revival, and its revised version, in Italian, has ever since been a staple of the repertoire of theatres worldwide.
Surprisingly, it took a very long time before Verdi’s Macbeth was presented in Prague. It was first staged here on 30 November 1935 at the Neues deutsches Theater (today’s State Opera).
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