Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
This production ran: Sep 29 - Oct 21
This Production is in the past
Soprano Svetlana Sozdateleva makes an exciting Met debut as the fiery femme fatale at the center of Shostakovich’s searing modern drama, joining forces with tenor Brandon Jovanovich as her illicit lover. Maestro Keri-Lynn Wilson makes her Met debut conducting Graham Vick’s vivid staging, which also features tenor Nikolai Schukoff and bass-baritone John Relyea.
Revival a gift of C. Graham Berwind, III
Languages sung in Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Title languages displayed for Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Met Titles In
Timeline for the show, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk
Estimated Run Time
3 hrs 25 mins
Acts I & II
Acts III & IV
World premiere: Maly Opera Theater, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), 1934
One of the undisputed musical masterpieces of the last 100 years, Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is a bleak, existential drama that is satirical and critical of society but also retains a sharply focused narrative, with Shostakovich’s thrilling score accentuating each of its dramatic points. Based on an engrossing novella by Nikolai Leskov, the opera maintains its source material’s frenetic pace with propulsive music and a plethora of activity, suggesting that any actions—even of the criminal variety—are preferable to the crushing ennui of conventional life.
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906–75), one of the 20th century’s most prominent composers, wrote 15 symphonies and a large quantity of chamber music, as well as compositions in other genres. The composer collaborated with playwright Alexander Preys (1905–42) to create the opera’s libretto, adapting a story by Nikolai Leskov (1831–95), a Russian author and journalist highly respected by many of the towering literary figures of his time.
Set and Costume Designer
The opera takes place in the Mtsensk District, about 150 miles south of Moscow, and in Siberia, the vast, harsh land in the northeastern part of Russia, to which criminals were traditionally banished throughout the country’s history.
The score of Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is dramatic, diverse, and utterly compelling, displaying the composer’s complete mastery and transcendence of familiar musical forms. Despite the jagged feel of the music, melody is not absent—it appears briefly but often vanishes before it is allowed to develop. The main exception to this is the role of Katerina herself. Her forays into prolonged musical expression make her a profound and, within the givens of this dark world, sympathetic character.