• Macbeth Educator Guide

A Play and an Opera

In the Metropolitan Opera production of Verdi’s Macbeth, Shakespeare’s tale of power, corruption, and devilry is brought to life. Macbeth’s goriness alone might assure its appeal to adolescents. The plot thickens with intrigue, not to mention the fascinating interplay between the title character and his diabolical wife. Through Adrian Noble’s conception, Macbeth takes place in a world of literal darkness. Players emerge from perpetual night in costumes evoking contemporary urban warfare, supported by mobs, claques, and revolutionary throngs. Whether or not your students are familiar with Shakespeare’s play, Verdi’s Macbeth offers riches of its own—in music, in the arcs of relationships, and in themes.

  • Classroom Activities

    Two full-length classroom activities, designed to support your ongoing curriculum.

  • Musical Highlights

    Four "Musical Highlights" designed to focus briefly on bits of music from Macbeth  to cultivate familiarity with the work.

  • Performance Activities 

    Performance activities for students to enjoy during the Metropolitan Opera HD transmission.

  • Post-Transmission Activity 

    A post-transmission activity, integrating the Live in HD experience into students' wider views of the performing arts.

An Intimate Look at Lust and Justice

This guide offers a variety of experiences designed to enrich viewing and promote understanding of the Met’s Live in HD transmission of Macbeth. Little prior knowledge is required to experience the activities that address several aspects of the story and performance including:

  • The composer’s use of music to depict human relationships
  • The themes of politics and government in Verdi’s reworking of Shakespeare
  • The opera as a work of art, involving a wide range of creative decisions by the composer, the librettist, and the artists of the Metropolitan Opera

This guide seeks not only to acquaint students with Macbeth, but also encourage them to think more broadly about opera-and the performing arts in general-as a means of personal and philosophical expression, as well as generate anticipation, heighten enjoyment, and promote understanding for audience members young and old.

The synopsis can be found here.