There are currently no scheduled performances of Macbeth.
The warrior Macbeth fights on the side of the King of Scotland – but when a coven of witches prophesy that he shall become king himself, the ruthless ambition of Macbeth and his wife drives them to horrific acts.
Verdi's life-long love affair with Shakespeare’s works began with Macbeth, a play he considered to be 'one of the greatest creations of man'. With his librettist Francesco Maria Piave Verdi set out to create 'something out of the ordinary'. Their success is borne out in every bar of a score that sees Verdi at his most theatrical. It bristles with demonic energy – particularly in the devilishly difficult role of Lady Macbeth.
Phyllida Lloyd's 2002 production for The Royal Opera is richly-hued, shot through with black, red and gold. The witches – imagined by designer Anthony Ward as strange scarlet-turbaned creatures – are ever-present arbiters of the action. Lloyd depicts Lord and Lady Macbeth's childlessness as the dark sadness lurking behind their terrible deeds. The Royal Opera’s production uses Verdi's 1865 Paris revision of the opera, which includes Lady Macbeth's astounding aria 'La luce langue'.
News and features
29 August 2014
Company to perform Macbeth and Don Giovanni in Tokyo, conducted by Antonio Pappano.
24 July 2013
All you need to know about Verdi's psychological thriller with rehearsal footage, interviews with the cast and features.
12 July 2013
Opera and ballet screenings include Rigoletto, La fille mal gardée, Macbeth and The Royal Ballet dances Frederick Ashton.
Macbeth is an opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi, with an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and additions by Andrea Maffei, based on William Shakespeare's play of the same name. Written for the Teatro della Pergola in Florence, it was Verdi's tenth opera and first given on 14 March 1847. Macbeth was the first Shakespeare play that Verdi adapted for the operatic stage.Written after the success of Attila in 1846, by which time the composer had become well established, Macbeth came before the great successes of 1850 to 1853 (Rigoletto, Il trovatore and La traviata) which propelled him into universal fame. As sources, Shakespeare's plays provided Verdi with lifelong inspiration: some, such as an adaption of King Lear (as Re Lear) were never realized, but he wrote his two final operas using Othello as the basis for Otello (1887) and The Merry Wives of Windsor as the basis for Falstaff (1893).The first version of Macbeth was completed during the time which Verdi described as his "galley years" which ranged over a period 16 years, and one which saw the composer produce 22 operas. By the standards of the subject matter of almost all Italian operas during the first fifty years of the 19th century, Macbeth was highly unusual. The 1847 version was very successful and it was presented widely. Pleased with his opera and with its reception, Verdi wrote to Antonio Barezzi, his former father-in-law and long-time supporter about two weeks after the premiere:The 1865 revision, produced for Paris in a French translation and with several additions was first given on 19 April of that year. It was less successful, and the opera largely faded from public view until the mid-20th century revivals.