Macbeth

Buy Tickets

Opens

June 03, 2016

PERFOMANCES:
June 3 @ 8 pm
June 5 @ 2 pm
June 9 @ 8pm
June 10 @ 8 pm
June 11 @ 8 pm

 

MACBETH is fully staged with orchestra conducted by Emmanuel Plasson.

June 10 will be the full production with Piano only.

Length of MACBETH: 3 hours (including 2 intermissions)

May 22 – Sunday

5 pmMeet the Singers
Champlain Valley Unitarian Universalist Society

June 1 – Wednesday

7 pmSpecial performance for local high school students
Town Hall Theater

June 3 – Friday

7 pmPre-performance talk by J. Scott Morrison
Memorial Baptist Church

8 pmMacbeth Opening Night and Post-Performance Reception
Town Hall Theater

June 5 – Sunday

1 pm – Pre-performance talk by J. Scott Morrison
Memorial Baptist Church

2 pm – Macbeth
Town Hall Theater

June 7 – Tuesday

8 pm – Young Artists in Recital
Town Hall Theater

June 9 – Thursday

7 pm – Pre-performance talk by Douglas Anderson
Memorial Baptist Church

8 pm – Macbeth
Town Hall Theater

June 10 – Friday

7 pm – Pre-performance talk by J. Scott Morrison
Memorial Baptist Church

8 pm – Macbeth – Performance by cover artists with piano
Town Hall Theater

June 11 – Saturday

7 pm – Pre-performance talk by Maestro Emmanuel Plasson
Memorial Baptist Church

8 pm – Macbeth
Town Hall Theater

Back to top

 

Main Cast

MACBETH Joshua Jeremiah
LADY MACBETH Rochelle Bard
BANQUO Rubin Casas
MACDUFF Alok Kumar
MALCOLM Yi Li
LADY-IN-WAITING Kristin Gornstein
DOCTOR/ENSEMBLE Isaiah Musik-Ayala
ENSEMBLE/WITCH Amal El-Shrafi
ENSEMBLE/WITCH Anna Bridgman

 

The Cast (covers) for June 10, performance:

MACBETH Eric McKeever
LADY MACBETH   Elizabeth Baldwin
BANQUO Isaiah Musik-Ayala
MACDUFF Mackenzie Gotcher
MALCOLM Mark Tempesta
LADY-IN-WAITING      Tascha Anderson
   

 

Young Artists

Mezzo Tascha Anderson
Mezzo Melanie Ashkar
Soprano Lauren Cook
Bass/Baritone             Blake Jennings
Mezzo Heather Jones
Baritone Thomas Massey
Baritone Garrett Obrycki
Tenor Mark Tempesta 
Collaborative Pianist Samuel Martin
   

 

Local Ensemble

Soprano Lillian Broderick
Bass Jack DesBois
Soprano Allison Devery
Soprano Victoria Drew
Tenor Cameron Steinmetz
Baritone David Tetreault
Bass/Baritone               Neil Wacek

 


This engagement marks the return of Joshua Jeremiah to the stage of OCM where audiences may fondly remember his Athanaël in Thaïs. This season, his recent triumph as Demetrius (A Midsummer Night’s Dream) with Hawaii Opera Theater brought him critical acclaim. Recent activities include: Rigoletto, Arizona Opera; Sonora (La fanciulla del West) and The Foreman (Jenůfa), Des Moines Metro Opera; a concert, “Verdi Duets” with LoftOpera in NYC; concerts with the New Haven Symphony; The Man (Persona), Beth Morrison Projects; a reprise of the title role of Gianni Schicchi, Mobile Opera; and adds Iago in Otello to his repertoire in 2016. Other roles include: Escamillo (Carmen); Sharpless (Madama Butterfly); John Sorel (The Consul), Opera Santa Barbara; and Aeneas (Dido and Aeneas) with Stephanie Blythe, Mostly Mozart Festival. He returns to Arizona Opera for the world-première of Riders of the Purple Sage by Craig Bohmler and Steven Mark Kohn in 2017. Website: www.alpha-artists.com/joshua-jeremiah.html
 

Soprano Rochelle Bard has been described by critics as an ‘exquisite’ and ‘poignant’ singing actress. With a focus on bel canto and Verdi roles, she has recently performed Norma, Elisabetta in Roberto Devereux, Violetta in La Traviata, Leonora in Il Trovatore, Lucia di Lammermoor and looks ahead to Maria Stuarda in 2017. Additional roles include Tosca, The Merry Widow, Magda in La Rondine, and the four heroines in Les Contes d’Hoffmann at such companies as Knoxville Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Tampa and Sacramento Opera. Ms. Bard earned a Master’s degree from the New England Conservatory and was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Music from her alma mater, The College of the Holy Cross. Her OCM debut was in 2014 as Violetta in La Traviata and she is excited to return to sing the ruthless Lady Macbeth this summer. Website: www.rochellebard.com

 

Rubin Casas, Bass-Baritone makes his company and role debut as Banquo. Pasadena, Texas native, Casas “provided rumbling bravura” as the Commendatore in Don Giovanni at Cedar Rapids Opera Theater and sang Angelotti/Scarpia-cover in Tosca at El Paso Opera. He “delivered the chaplain Raimondo’s proclamations deeply and fully” in Lucia di Lammermoor at Opera in the Heights and was “darkly compelling” as the same character at Opera New Jersey. He was a “strong and imposing Bishop Ruiz” in Florentine Opera’s Grammy Award winning world premiere of Rio de Sangre, also commercially released on Albany Records. Of his Carnegie Hall debut with the Opera Orchestra of New York, Opera News declared him “promising vocal material” as Ashby in La Fanciulla del West. Casas has sung with Tacoma Opera, Shreveport Opera, Virginia Opera, Spokane Opera, Connecticut Grand Opera, New York City Opera and the Metropolitan Opera. He is an alumnus of Yale University. Website: www.lombardoassociates.org/rubin-casas

Back to top 

Alok Kumar has performed at New York City’s Carnegie Hall, Santa Fe Opera, Cincinnati Pops, Boston Pops, Italy’s Spoleto Festival and Opera Company of Middlebury where he made a company and role debut (Calaf) in OCM’s 2015 production of Puccini’s Turandot. He has portrayed several of the most famous roles in the operatic repertoire including the Duke in Rigoletto, Alfredo in La Traviata, Rodolfo in La bohème and Don José in Carmen. In addition the standard repertoire, Mr. Kumar has created roles in new works bringing his artistry to new opera, oratorio and musical theatre. Having made his opera debut at the age of 11 as Amahl in Menotti’s Amahl and the Night Visitors, Mr. Kumar continued his education at the Peabody Conservatory of Music, Rice University’s Shepherd School of Music and the Boston University Opera Institute. Born in India and raised in New York, Mr. Kumar is a professional singer and a practicing attorney in New York City. Website: www.alokkumartenor.com

 

Proving himself a formidable talent, and a rising star to watch in the opera world, Tenor Yi Li is quickly gaining attention in the lyric tenor repertoire. This season, Mr. Li receives a grant from the Giulio Gari Foundation and performs their annual gala, sings Don Ottavio in Don Giovanni with Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and Intermountain Opera Bozeman, Malcolm in Macbeth with Opera Company of Middlebury, Alfredo in La Traviata with Finger Lakes Opera, performs on Indianapolis Opera’s Opera’s Rising Stars Concert, and in Paradise Interrupted with the Lincoln Center Festival. Mr. Li was a Grand Final Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a finalist at “Operalia: The World Opera Competition,” Winner of the Sullivan Musical Foundation Award, China’s representative at the Cardiff Singer of the World Competition, and 3rd Prize at the Gerda Lissner Foundation International Vocal Competition. Website: www.uzanartists.com/portfolio/yi-li

 

Described as “engaging” and “rich-voiced” by the New York Times, American mezzo-soprano Kristin Gornstein brings her vibrant stage presence and supple voice to a diverse repertoire ranging from Handel to improvisational modern and electronic music. Praised as having “a brilliant upper register that would be the envy of any soprano, with a chocolatey mezzo richness,” Kristin frequently performs both opera and concert repertoire. Most recently, Kristin joined the Tanglewood Music Festival as a 2015 Vocal Fellow. Highlights include the world premiere of a commission for female voice and four percussionists by Steven Mackey, titled Madrigal, as well as selected scenes from Osvaldo Golijov’s Ainadamar as Federico Lorca with the TMC orchestra. This season, she performed the title role in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with Loft Opera. Website: www.kristingornstein.com

This season, bass-baritone Isaiah Musik-Ayala covers roles in Aida (Il Re), La battaglia di Legnano (Barbarossa), and La bohème (Colline) with Sarasota Opera. Recent performances include Basilio (Paisiello’s Il barbiere di Siviglia) with On Site Opera (NY), and Gazella (Lucrezia Borgia) with Loft Opera (NY). This summer with Chautauqua Opera, he sang the Doctor and covered Banquo in Macbeth, and sang Zaretsky and covered Prince Gremin in Eugene Onegin. An alum of Irene Dalis’ Resident Ensemble at Opera San Jose, his many roles with the company include Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Don Magnifico in La Cenerentola, Count Des Grieux in Manon, Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville, Colline in La bohème, and Alexei Karenin in the West Coast Premiere of Anna Karenina. Other roles include Escamillo (Carmen), Simone (Gianni Schicchi), Frank (Die Fledermaus), Raimondo (Lucia di Lammermoor) and Sharpless (Madama Butterfly). Isaiah is a graduate of Oberlin Conservatory, where he studied with the late Richard Miller. Website: www.isaiahmusik-ayala.com

 

A native of Randolph, Massachusetts, Amal El-Shrafi received a B.M. in Music Education and a B.A. in Vocal Performance from the University of New Hampshire and a M.M. In Voice Performance from New England Conservatory. Most notably, Amal has been a two-time New England Regional Finalist for the MET National Council Auditions in 2015 and 2013, and placed as a national semi-finalist in the Classical Singer Competition. Professional roles include the Female Chorus in Britten’s Rape of Lucretia (Opera Brittenica) and Fiordiligi in Mozart’s Così fan Tutte (Bay View Music Festival). Amal was recently a Young Artist at OCM in Turandot and made her principal artist debut this season as Nedda in I pagliacci with Mobile Opera. She also performed as an Apprentice Artist with Sarasota Opera this winter. Outside of the opera world, Amal runs an active voice and piano studio and is a Reiki practitioner. Website: www.amalelshrafi.com

 

Soprano Anna Bridgman is a native of Kansas City, Missouri. She recently appeared as Countess Almaviva in Le nozze di Figaro with Boston Conservatory Opera. Other roles include: Violetta Valéry in La traviata, Anne Truelove in The Rake’s Progress, Susannah Polk in Susannah, Lady Billows in Albert Herring, Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte, Hanna Glawari in The Merry Widow. She has performed with Boston Conservatory, Seagle Music Colony, and the University of Missouri-Columbia. Ms. Bridgman received the Encouragement Award in the 2015 Kansas City District Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and in 2014 won the Music Teacher’s National Association Young Artist Vocal Competition. Ms. Bridgman holds a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from U. Missouri-Columbia, and recently graduated with a Masters in Opera Performance from Boston Conservatory. Last year, Anna made her Opera Company of Middlebury debut as a Young Artist in Turandot, and is thrilled to be back in Middlebury for Macbeth. Website:www.annabridgman.com

Back to top 

 

Hailed by Opera Magazine (UK) for possessing a voice of “darkness and clarity” and Opera News for his “considerable flexibility and expressive, crystalline diction,” Eric McKeever’s 2015-16 season includes Marcello (La bohème) with Opera Columbus, Sharpless (Madama Butterfly) with Salt Marsh Opera, Frank (Die Fledermaus) with Opera Naples, Nashville Opera, Florentine Opera and Baltimore Concert Opera and covering the title role in Macbeth with Opera Company of Middlebury. Mr. McKeever recently made debuts with Skylight Music Theatre as Don Pizarro (Fidelio) and the title role in Hans Werner Henze’s El Cimarron where he was awarded the 2014 Doherty Ross Debut Artist Award. Other recent engagements: Schaunard (La bohème) with Nashville Opera, the Revival Singer (Elmer Gantry) with Florentine Opera, the title role in Opera Naples’ Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Michele (Il Tabarro), and the title role in Gianni Schicchi with North Shore Music Festival. Mr. McKeever can be heard as the Scientist on the forthcoming recording of Stephen Melillo’s Son of the Storm. Website: www.ericmckeeverbaritone.com

 

American lyric soprano Elizabeth Baldwin performed Erste Dame in Die Zauberflöte (Opera San Jose), Amelia in Un Ballo in Maschera (Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra), Tatiana in Eugene Onegin (Chautauqua Opera), Viclinda in I Lombardi (Opera Orchestra of New York at Lincoln Center), Ellen Orford in Peter Grimes (Chautauqua Opera and San Francisco Symphony Orchestra), title role of Tosca (Kentucky Opera, Boston Youth Symphony Orchestra, and Opera San Jose), title role in Ariadne auf Naxos (Opera Theater of Pittsburgh), among various others. She sang the Widow in Elijah at Boston’s Symphony Hall, John William’s Seven For Luck in front of 15,000 people at Tanglewood Music Center Festival, “Ladies in Red” Gala with Toledo Opera, and Vier Letzte Lieder with Denver Philharmonic Orchestra. She was a Finalist in the Francisco Viñas International Singing Competition, Semi-Finalist in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, and Grand Prize winner in The William Matheus Sullivan Musical Foundation. Website: www.elizabethbaldwinsoprano.com

 

American tenor Mackenzie Gotcher has gained attention for his versatile and thrilling performance of a wide variety of operatic repertoire. In the 2016 season, Mr. Gotcher debuts with Opera Company of Middlebury covering Macduffo in Verdi’s Macbeth and debuts with Opera North covering Cavaradossi in Puccini’s Tosca as well as singing Agustin Magaldi in Weber’s Evita. Since his 2012 debut in Gianni Schicchi, Gotcher has consistently been engaged by such companies as Sarasota Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Opera Tampa, dell’Arte Opera Ensemble, the Künstler Orchester Wien, Metro Chamber Orchestra, Land of Enchantment Opera, and La Forza dell’Opera. Website: www.tenormackenziegotcher.com

 

Known for his uniquely baritonal color, young Italian-American tenor Mark Tempesta is already demonstrating artistic and dramatic flexibility on both the operatic and concert stages. Mark has performed with the Huntington Theater Company, BU Opera Institute, Boston Metro Opera, Oberlin Opera Theater, the Boston Pops, served as an Artist-in-Residence at Boston University Tanglewood Institute, and recently recorded with Parma Records. Operatic highlights include Joe in Wargo’s Ballymore: Winners, Narrator in Britten’s Owen Wingrave, Paolino in Cimarosa’s Il Il Matrimonio Segreto, L’Aumônier in Poulenc’s Les Dialogues des Carmelites, Tiberge in Massenet’s Le Portrait de Manon, Gastone in La Traviata, Cornelius Oppen in Martin’s Tobermory, the voice of Renard in Stravinsky’s Renard, and Colonel Fairfax in Sullivan’s Yeomen of the Guard. Mark holds a Master of Music in Vocal Performance from Boston University, and dual Bachelor degrees from Oberlin Conservatory and Oberlin College in Voice Performance and in Physics. [No website currently]

 

Mezzo-soprano Tascha Anderson is originally from Missoula, Montana. Recent roles include Olga (Four Sisters), Rosina (Il barbiere di Siviglia), Isabella (L’Italiana in Algeri), and Mother Goose (The Rake’s Progress). This summer, Ms. Anderson will return to Seagle Music Colony where she will portray Pamela Yusupov in the world premiere of Roscoe (Evan Mack). She holds a M.M. from The Boston Conservatory and a B.A. in from Pepperdine University. Ms. Anderson currently resides in Boston and studies under Rebecca Folsom. Website: www.taschaanderson.com

 

Melanie Ashkar is a recent graduate of Mannes College, where she was featured as Jo in Little Women, Older Woman in Flight, La Zia Principessa in Suor Angelica, and Zita in Gianni Schicchi. Later this summer she will appear with the Caramoor Bel Canto Festival as an Apprentice Artist.

Back to top 

 

Soprano Lauren Cook has been seen in such productions as Le nozze di Figaro, Flight, Falstaff, Impressions de Pelléas, La Cenerentola, L’incoronazione di Poppea, and Hansel and Gretel. Ms. Cook recently graduated with her Masters from the Boston Conservatory. Previously, she attended LSU and performed with Opera Louisiane and the Louisiana Opera Outreach Program. Website: www.sopranolaurencook.com

 

Blake Jennings is a recent graduate of Texas Christian University. During his time at TCU, Blake has portrayed a wide variety of roles, his most recent being Sarastro in The Magic Flute as well as the Prophet in Nico Muhly’s Dark Sisters. Blake has also recently been a young artist for Seagle Music Colony, where he played Fiorello in Il barbiere di siviglia as well as the Steward in Into The Woods. [No website currently]

 

Mezzo-soprano Heather Jones is a Charleston, SC native based in NYC. Favorite roles include: Cherubino (Le nozze di Figaro), Hänsel (Hänsel und Gretel), Idamante (Idomeneo), Siebel (Faust), and Suzuki (Madama Butterfly). BM Westminster Choir College; MM Mannes College (current). Ms. Jones is a grateful student of Bill Burden. Website: www.heatherjonesmezzo.com

 

Headshot Massey croppedTenor Thomas Massey hails from Tampa, Florida and is a recent graduate of the Mannes School of Music where he studied with Joseph Colaneri. Other opera experience: St. Petersburg Opera Young Artist Program; Festival of the Aegean: Così Fan Tutti (covered Ferrando) and highlights from Un Ballo in Mascera, La Traviata, and Rigoletto; Johanna Meier Summer Program’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia (highlights as Count Almaviva); Berlin Opera Studio: highlights from La Traviata (Alfredo); Florida Lyric Opera: Le convenience ed inconvenienze teatrali (Guglielmo, in July 2016). Thomas is thrilled to be singing in Vermont.

 

Minnesota native Garrett Obrycki performed Tarquinius (Rape of Lucretia) and Frank Maurrant (Street Scene) during his years at Eastman. Highlights include Sid (Albert Herring) with Temple Opera, Ben (The Telephone) with Opera Oggi, Belcore (L’élisir d’amore) with Opera Libera, covering Count Almaviva (Le Nozze Di Figaro) with Princeton Opera Festival, and title roles in both Don Giovanni and the world premiere of Billy Blythe with Opera Ithaca. This spring, Garrett sang in Operation Superpower with Opera Saratoga. Since 2014, Garrett has been on the chorus roster and Teaching Artist for Opera Philadelphia. [No website currently]

Back to top 

Headshot Martin croppedSamuel Martin is a sought-after pianist and coach in all musical settings. Noted for his sensitive, yet dramatic playing, Martin specializes in duo partnerships with vocalists and is especially passionate about the promotion and innovation of classical song. He is the founder and Artistic Director of the Cincinnati Song Initiative.

 

After completing her Bachelor’s degree this May, Soprano Lillian Broderick will pursue graduate study in opera performance. In addition to performing on the opera and concert stage locally, Miss Broderick has studied and performed extensively in Italy, most recently with the Ezio Pinza Council for American Singers of Opera where she plans to return this July. 
 
 

Headshot DesBois croppedJack DesBois is a recent Middlebury College graduate with a BA in Music. Recent Town Hall Theater stage credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Oberon), Seminar (Douglas), Ragtime (Tateh), Into the Woods (Wolf), and, with OCM, Eugene Onegin (Ensemble, Gillot). Jack works as an activity leader at Project Independence adult day center.

 

 

Headshot DesBois croppedDescribed as “brilliant, nuanced, and lyrically expressive,” soprano Allison Devery has starred in opera and musical theatre productions throughout North America and is a highly sought-after soloist in her home state of Vermont. Allison trained at The University of Montreal and The Crane School of Music and teaches voice at St. Michael’s college.

 

Victoria Drew (Ensemble Soprano) is a Vermont-based lyric soprano with a B.A. in Vocal Performance from UVM, and an M.M. in Opera Performance from Longy School of Music. She teaches opera at St Michael’s College and privately, and plays accordion, piano and trumpet. Love to her wonderful husband and fellow performer, Neil Wacek!

 

Tenor Cameron Steinmetz is thrilled to be returning to the THT for his fifth production with OCM. Other previous roles include Jamie in The Last Five Years (GMC), Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors (GMC), Ralph in H.M.S. Pinafore (DP), Galahad in Spamalot! (MCP)and Ferrando in Così fan Tutte (EVCA).
 

 

David (DJ) Tetreault recently graduated from Saint Michael’s College with his B.A. in Music, focus in Vocal Performance. He performed at SMC in several leading roles including a regionally nominated performance as Jesus in Godspell. He’s beyond excited to be making his opera debut with The Opera Company of Middlebury.

 

Neil Wacek (Bass-Baritone). With OCM: La bohème, Thaïs, L’italiana in Algeri and Turandot. Neil is a frequent soloist with professional and community ensembles around Vermont, including “Counterpoint.” Also an accomplished trumpet player, Neil performs with The Green Mountain Brass Band, Inseldudler German band, and is director of the UVM Pep Band. He resides in Shelburne, VT.

Sponsor an Artist

Help support OCM by sponsoring a singer or a member of the orchestra!

Attend rehearsals and meet “your ” artist.

Click here for more information.

Back to top 

Background

Verdi’s Macbeth was written in 1846-47, toward the end of Verdi’s ‘galley years’ (three years before the 1850 breakthrough of Rigoletto, Trovatore, and La Traviata).  Verdi had just come off a six-month period of rest ordered by his doctor, most likely due to mental exhaustion from his frenetic life of writing one opera after another. He had always been a lover of Shakespeare; remember that he also wrote Otello and Falstaff and had long had plans to write a King Lear which he never finished. He wrote his own prose libretto which was then set in verse by his librettist, Francesco Maria Piave. Piave’s libretto, although poetic in Italian, cannot quite come up the Shakespeare’s magisterial poetry. Further, Verdi and Piave expertly trimmed the play to make it a workable length for a sung drama. Its première in 1847, only one month after Verdi finished it, was a huge success and it made its way around the world in only a few months. The US première was in New York in 1850.

 

Cast of Characters

Macbeth, Baritone, General of King Duncan’s army 
Lady Macbeth, Soprano 
Banco (Banquo), Bass, General of King Duncan’s army 
Macduff, Tenor, Lord of Fife 
Lady-in-waiting, Mezzo-Soprano 
Malcolm, Tenor, King Duncan’s son 
Doctor, Bass
Apparitions, 2 sopranos and 1 bass

 

Synopsis

Act I

Scene one – A forest  Returning home from battle Macbeth and Banquo come upon a coven of witches that makes three unsettling predictions: they promise Macbeth shall become 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.

Scene two – A hall in the castle  Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband detailing his unusual experiences and the swift fulfillment of the first prophesy. She draws the conclusion that 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. After his wife gives the signal that all have retired to bed, Macbeth murders the sleeping Duncan. 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.

Act II

Scene one – A room in the castle  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 agree that more blood must flow.

Scene two – The castle park.  Assassins descend on Banquo and his young son, Fleance. Banquo is killed, but Fleance manages to escape.

Scene three – A magnificent banquet hall  A celebration is held in Macbeth’s honor, and Lady Macbeth leads the toast. An assassin quietly confirms 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 behavior, 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 III

A dark cave  Regrouped for the sabbath, the witches prepare an unearthly brew. Specters 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 an apparition warning him to beware Macduff. The second spirit, a child, advises him not to fear any man born of a woman. A final apparition 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 specters, followed by the reappearance of Banquo’s ghost. The witches and spirits vanish as Macbeth faints.

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

Act IV

Scene one – A deserted place on the Scottish border   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.

Scene two – A room in the castle  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 crime.

Scene three – A room in the castle  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 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.” Malcolm enters with soldiers and women of the castle. Macduff informs them that Macbeth has been slain. All hail Malcolm as their new king.

Background and synopsis written by J. Scott Morrison, OCM Board member.

The Music

ScottMorrison-102Our own resident music expert, J. Scott Morrison, has compiled a list of his favorite recordings and videos of Verdi’s Macbeth. We hope you enjoy them.

 

 

Audio CD

Conducted by Riccardo Muti, with Sherrill Milnes, Fiorenza Cossoto and Ruggiero Raimondi.

 

 

Conducted by Claudio Abbado, with Piero Cappuccilli, Shirley Verrett, Placido Domingo, Nicolai Ghiaurov.

 

 

 On YouTube

Complete opera, DVD recorded 2002 in the Zürich Opera House with Thomas Hampson as Macbeth and Paoletta Marrocu as Lady Macbeth. English subtitles.

Anna Netrebko sings Lady Macbeth’s first act aria Viene t’affretta. (No subtitles.)

Sleepwalking scene with Shirley Verrett (a weird staging).

Sleepwalking scene with Anna Netrebko: (you’ll need to turn up the volume)