Opera Scotland

Macbeth 2000Scottish Opera

Read more about the opera Macbeth

This production of Macbeth was generally well received when it opened at the 1999 Edinburgh Festival.

A few years later serious financial problems caused Scottish Opera to shut down for a season. Rumours spread that the deficit could mainly be laid at the door of the Macbeth. Initially the problems had been assumed to be the fault of the subsequent Ring cycles of 2003. Certainly, these took the blame, in spite of being funded jointly by the Festival and, at that time the still highly prosperous, Bank of Scotland. This Macbeth certainly looked a very expensive show, with a huge set and lavish costumes and a long rehearsal period. It was a co-production with two well-funded continental houses, and Scottish Opera took it to Vienna as well. But whatever the financial outcome, this production has not been revived.

Luc Bondy was a favourite of Festival Director Brian McMaster, and several of his stagings for European companies had been brought to the Festival. However, Bondy had hitherto not directed a production from scratch in Scotland. The basic permanent set was a monumental golden wall curving across the back of the stage, other props appearing as required. The costumes varied from elegant chain-mail for the combatants to blood-spattered surgical scrubs for the witches.

The result was musically and dramatically highly successful, the only possible quibble being with the decision to use the original downbeat ending, with no rousing choral finale, giving a slight sense of anticlimax. Otherwise, Richard Armstrong supplied the expected red-blooded account of the score and obtained vivid singing from the significantly enlarged chorus. Three of the four principals were familiar guests at the top of their form. Richard Zeller and Kathleen Broderick both gave superb, vocally effortless performances as the Macbeths, well backed up by Carsten Stabell. Marco Berti made a notable British debut as Macduff.

Performance DatesMacbeth 2000

Map List

Theatre Royal, Glasgow | Glasgow

2 May, 19.15 6 May, 19.15 26 May, 19.15 13 Jun, 19.15 16 Jun, 19.15

Theater an der Wien | Vienna

17 May, 19.30 19 May, 19.30 21 May, 19.30

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh | Edinburgh

7 Jun, 19.15 9 Jun, 19.15

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