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date: 23 October 2019

Macbeth(ii)locked

  • Roger Parker

Extract

Opera in four acts by Giuseppe Verdi to a libretto by Francesco Maria Piave (with additional material by Andrea Maffei) after William Shakespeare play; Florence, Teatro della Pergola, 14 March 1847 (revised version, with libretto translated by Charles-Louis-Etienne Nuitter and Alexandre Beaumont, Paris, Théâtre Lyrique, 21 April 1865).

Verdi’s contract of 1846 with the impresario Alessandro Lanari and the Teatro delta Pergola of Florence stipulated no particular opera, and in the summer various possibilities, including I masnadieri and Macbeth, were under consideration. The final decision, Verdi made clear, would depend on the singers available. Macbeth would have no tenor lead but needed a first-class baritone and soprano; I masnadieri, on the other hand, was dependent on a fine tenor. By late September the cast had been secured, notably with the engagement of Felice Varesi, one of the finest actor-singer baritones of the day; accordingly, the choice fell on Macbeth...

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