Arts > Macbeth

27 February 2014 | by Robert Thicknesse



Macbeth was Verdi’s first grown-up opera. After the artillery bombardments of Ernani and Nabucco, the 33-year-old composer for the first time flexed his muscles as a true musical dramatist, bending the structures of opera to the demands of real theatre. And having idolised Shakespeare from his youth (though he knew the works only in a most debased form: prose translations that reliably misunderstood most of Shakespeare’s metaphors, made egregious insertions and constantly mistook the tone of the writing), he produced one of the most faithful and ­powerful of all Shakespearean operas when commissioned by the Teatro della Pergola in Florence in 1846.Cunningly, he slipped it in beneath the guard of a Florentine public for whom the new “genere fantastico”, represen


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