The Royal Opera House presents a live cinema screening of Verdi’s Macbeth, inspired by Shakespeare’s great tragedy of the same name, on Wednesday 4 April at 7.15pm.
The opera tells the terrifying tale of Macbeth, a warrior who, after hearing a coven of witches prophesy that he will become King of Scotland, is driven by ambition and encouraged by his wife to make the prophecy reality. Soon the murderous couple become possessed by a paranoia that drives them to further crimes and ultimately leads to their downfall.
Verdi’s passion for Shakespeare’s plays began with Macbeth (1847, his tenth opera), which he described as ‘one of the greatest creations of man’. It was his first great Shakespearean adaptation; he would create two more, Otello and Falstaff, in his final years. The Royal Opera’s production uses Verdi’s 1865 revision of the opera for Paris, which includes Lady Macbeth’s thrilling aria ‘La luce langue’.
Directed by the award-winning Phyllida Lloyd, who made her debut at the Royal Opera House in 2002 with Macbeth, the production captures the sadness of the Macbeths, in particular the childlessness that may be a motivating force behind their terrible deeds.
Antonio Pappano conducts a cast led by Serbian baritone Željko Lui as Macbeth, Russian soprano Anna Netrebko as Lady Macbeth (one of her signature roles) and Italian bass-baritone Ildebrando D’Arcangelo as Banquo.
The performance lasts three hours and 20 minutes and includes one interval, which will feature extensive behind-the-scenes footage and interviews with the cast and creative team.
Macbeth will be sung in Italian with English surtitles.
Swan Lake has had a special role in the repertory of The Royal Ballet since 1934. This Season The Royal Ballet creates a new production with additional choreography by Artist in Residence Liam Scarlett. While remaining faithful to the Petipa-Ivanov text, Scarlett will bring fresh eyes to the staging of this classic ballet, in collaboration with his long-term designer John Macfarlane. Prince Siegfried chances upon a fl ock of swans while out hunting. When one of the swans turns into a beautiful woman, Odette, he is enraptured. But she is under a spell that holds her captive, allowing her to regain her human form only at night. Swan Lake was Tchaikovsky’s fi rst ballet score. Given its status today as arguably the best loved and most admired of all classical ballets, it is perhaps surprising that at its premiere in 1877 Swan Lake was poorly received. It is thanks to the 1895 production by Marius Petipa and Lev Ivanov that Swan Lake has become part of not only ballet consciousness but also wider popular culture. That success is secured not only by the sublime, symphonic sweep of Tchaikovsky’s score, but also by the striking choreographic contrasts between Petipa’s royal Palace scenes and the lyric lakeside scenes created by Ivanov.