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Macbeth: new backstage film

By Royal Opera House

1 June 2011 at 4.05pm | Comment on this article

Watch our new backstage film with Simon Keenlyside and Antonio Pappano. The British baritone talks about the challenges of playing Macbeth -one of the most famous dramatic roles in theatre repertory.  Music Director Pappano salutes the sheer potency and atmosphere of Verdi’s music.


Simon Keenlyside: An ‘unrelentingly dark opera, but with flashes of light’, where the ‘characters are born along on these huge emotional tides, underneath of which is this great immutable force - of emotion and nature.’

Antonio Pappano: ‘There is such atmosphere in the music, one that Verdi never achieved again to such a degree. Famously, on the opening night he was still rehearsing the first duet between Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, where they’re singing very softly. (It could never be soft enough for Verdi.) What character is more interesting than Lady Macbeth? I don’t think there is one.'

In performance:

Phyllida Lloyd’s production of Verdi’s Macbeth (1865) is on its second revival.  British baritone Simon Keenlyside sings the title role - for the first time at the Royal Opera House.  Ukrainian soprano Liudmyla Monastyrska returns to the Covent Garden stage as Lady Macbeth, following her critically acclaimed performances of Aida. Antonio Pappano, Music Director of The Royal Opera, conducts the work for the first time at Covent Garden.

Remaining dates:  3, 6, 10, 13*, 15, 18 June  [Tickets ] [Synopsis]

13 June live relay into over 450 cinemas around the world.

Crib sheet: famous Macbeth moments

Is this a dagger which I see before me,
The handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee;
I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
To feeling as to sight? or art thou but
A dagger of the mind, a false creation,
Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
I see thee yet, in form as palpable
As this which now I draw.

--Macbeth, Act II, scene 1

I have almost forgot the taste of fears;
The time has been, my senses would have cool'd
To hear a night-shriek; and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir
As life were in't: I have supp'd full with horrors;
Direness, familiar to my slaughterous thoughts
Cannot once start me.

--Macbeth, Act V, scene 5

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

--Macbeth, Act V, scene 5

See also:

Macbeth, Verdi, Shakespeare: 10 things you might not know

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