The Sedona International Film Festival will present the encore of the Met Opera’s “Macbeth” from the 2014/2015 season on Saturday, July 1, at 1 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre.
Star soprano Anna Netrebko delivers a searing portrayal as Lady Macbeth, the murderously cunning wife of Željko Lučić’s doomed Macbeth. Adrian Noble’s chilling production of Verdi’s tragic Shakespearean adaptation also features Joseph Calleja as Macduff and René Pape as Banquo, with Fabio Luisi conducting.
Verdi’s opera is a powerful musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s timeless drama of ambition and its personal cost. Raising questions about fate, superstition, guilt and power, it marks an important step on the composer’s path from his more conventional earlier efforts to the integrated musical dramas of his mature years. “Macbeth” is different from many operas in other ways, as well, including those by Verdi himself.
Instead of the tenor — soprano love interest that forms the core of most romantic operas, Macbeth uses a baritone and dramatic soprano to depict a married couple whose relationship is dominated by the desire for power.
Scotland. Macbeth and Banquo, leaders of the Scottish army, meet a group of witches who prophesy the future. They address Macbeth as Thane of Cawdor and King of Scotland, and tell Banquo that he will be the father of kings. The two men try to learn more, but the witches vanish. Messengers arrive with news that Duncan, the current king of Scotland, has made Macbeth Thane of Cawdor. Thus the first part of the witches’ prediction comes true.
In Macbeth’s castle, Lady Macbeth reads a letter from her husband telling her of the events that have just transpired. She resolves to follow her ambitions. A servant announces that Duncan will soon arrive at the castle, and when Macbeth enters, she tells him that they must kill the king. Duncan arrives.
Macbeth has a vision of a dagger, then leaves to commit the murder. On his return, he tells his wife how the act has frightened him, and she tells him that he needs more courage. They both leave as Banquo enters with Macduff, a nobleman, who discovers the murder.
Macbeth and Lady Macbeth pretend to be horrified and join the others in condemning the murder.
Macbeth has become king. Duncan’s son, Malcolm, is suspected of killing his father and has fled to England. Worried about the prophecy that Banquo’s children will rule, Macbeth and his wife plan to kill him and his son, Fleance. As Macbeth leaves to prepare the double murder, Lady Macbeth hopes it will finally make their throne secure.
Outside the castle, assassins wait for Banquo, who appears with his son, warning him of strange forebodings. Banquo is killed, but Fleance escapes.
Lady Macbeth welcomes the court to the banquet hall and sings a drinking song, while Macbeth receives news that Banquo is dead and his son has escaped. About to take Banquo’s seat at the table, Macbeth has a terrifying vision of the dead man accusing him. His wife is unable to calm her unsettled husband, and the courtiers wonder about the king’s strange behavior. Macduff vows to leave the country, which is now ruled by criminals.
The witches gather again, and Macbeth visits them, demanding more prophecies. Apparitions warn him to beware of Macduff and assure him that “no man of woman born” can harm him, and that he will be invincible until Birnam Wood marches on his castle. In another vision, he sees a procession of future kings, followed by Banquo. Horrified, Macbeth collapses. The witches disappear and his wife finds him. They resolve to kill Macduff and his family.
On the Scottish border, Macduff has joined the refugees. His wife and children have been killed. Malcolm appears with British troops and leads them to invade Scotland.
Lady Macbeth is sleepwalking, haunted by the horrors of what she and her husband have done.
Macbeth awaits the arrival of his enemies and realizes that he will never live to a peaceful old age. Messengers bring news that Lady Macbeth has died, and that Birnam Wood appears to be moving. English soldiers appear, camouflaged with its branches. Macduff confronts Macbeth and tells him that he was not born naturally but had a Caesarean birth.
He kills Macbeth and proclaims Malcolm king of Scotland.
The Met Live Opera’s “Macbeth” encore will be presented on Saturday, July 1, at 1 p.m. at the Mary D. Fisher Theatre. Tickets are $15 general admission, or $12.50 for Film Festival members. Tickets are available in advance at the Sedona International Film Festival office, by calling 282-1177 or online at SedonaFilmFestival.org. Both the theater and film festival office are at 2030 W. SR 89A in West Sedona.