Based on one of the Bard’s eeriest plays, Verdi’s grim tragedy Macbeth has long courted scandal at the Met. The work first arrived on the company’s stage in 1959, in a production that was to serve as a star vehicle for Maria Callas. But when the celebrated diva was infamously fired by General Manager Rudolf Bing before rehearsals began, soprano Leonie Rysanek was called upon to make her debut as Lady Macbeth instead. Over the next two decades, the work was revived regularly, until in 1982, when an experimental production by Sir Peter Hall ignited renewed controversy. It was during a performance of this same staging six years later that a terminally-ill audience member took his own life by leaping from the Balcony at intermission. The opera then disappeared from the repertory for 19 years, only returning with the premiere of the current production by Adrian Noble. In this hair-raising 1984 performance, an extraordinary ensemble leads a memorable matinee radio broadcast. Legendary artists Sherrill Milnes and Renata Scotto triumph as the murderous Macbeths, alongside bass Paul Plishka as Banquo and tenor Giuliano Ciannella as Macduff. James Levine takes the podium to conduct one of opera’s darkest masterpieces.
Jan 28, 1984
Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffe
2 HRS 29 MIN
Metropolitan Opera Orchestra and Chorus