The Many Moods of Mr. and Mrs. Macbeth

Shakespeare’s Macbeth is a tangle of kings, earls, and thanes. For Giuseppe Verdi, though, only three participants counted: Macbeth, his wife, and the witches. Over the course of the opera, Verdi and his librettists carefully delineate the emotional journeys of Lady Macbeth and her husband, as well as the complexities of their relationship. In this activity, students will explore Verdi’s accomplishment in depicting characters’ feelings through song. They will

  • describe characters’ moods and attitudes
  • create masks to visually represent the emotional states of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth
  • acquaint themselves with the character arcs and some of the music in Macbeth in advance of the Met’s HD transmission...gotoactivity 


Macbeth's Murderer's: Who Cares?

Giuseppe Verdi intended to be faithful to Shakespeare in presenting his version of Macbeth. Nevertheless, the opera is a product of its times. In this activity, students will consider some differences between politics in Shakespeare’s day and politics in Verdi’s, then observe how those differences are reflected in Verdi’s work. They will:

  • be introduced to basic generalizations about government in the early 1600s and mid-1800s—royalty vs. democracy
  • compare characterizations in the two versions of Macbeth
  • discover some functions that a chorus can perform in an opera
  • acquaint themselves with some of the music in Macbeth in advance of the Met’s HD transmission...gotoactivity