Scottish King Murdered in Coldstream Field
Sat Oct 19 7:00 PM
"No dream is too big. No challenge is too great.
Nothing we want for our future is beyond our reach”
Classic Italian opera through a new lens. Sung in English and re-scored for electric guitar, amplified orchestra, this well-loved Shakesperean epic turned modern-day fable of a murderous leader - a would-be King of his own little world
Mr Macbeth has a born-to-rule complex and delusions of grandeur. He lives with his foreign-born third wife in a MacMansion, trading in wobbly millions and embroiled in dodgy deals, manipulating his minions as a hands-on property developer.
Life takes a turn for the bizarre, when he sees three witches in a forest acclaiming his future glory - a vision backed up by a loyal and trusty aide. Macbeth takes the supernatural prediction to heart. When fate hands them an opportunity, Mr Macbeth and his aspirational wife seize the day, with bloody resolve and dire consequences.
From the Director, Luke Leonard:
Linda Thompson conceived a contemporary vision for approaching Giuseppe Verdi’s opera, Macbeth, and commissioned my dear friend and collaborator, Peter Stopschinski, to re-imagine the orchestration for six instruments including electric. I was thrilled to work with one of Australia’s most celebrated and treasured baritones, Michael Lewis, along with a roster of established and rising singers. Mr. Lewis’ breadth of experience in the role of Macbeth combined with an ingenious creative and production team was an exciting way to enter the rehearsal room.
After a few days of rehearsal Mr. Lewis stopped to tell me, “It’s not Verdi, it’s a new work,” and I agreed. You don’t have to be a Shakespearean scholar, or even be familiar with the complete story of Macbeth to appreciate and connect with this production. In fact, I would encourage you to forget what you know about Macbeth and watch with a beginner’s mind. Our main rule was to stay true to Verdi’s melodies, so whether you are acquainted with Verdi’s opera or not, I hope you will be pleasantly surprised by what you hear.
Tom Sutcliffe writes in his book, Believing in Opera: “For the theatre can always do the impossible, even if some of its audience find that experience too stretching.” We chose an informal approach to Scottish heritage closer to appropriation art versus a pedantic one. It might help to think of The Scottish Opera as Scot-Fi (Scottish Fiction).
Here, we attempt to get to the bone of Macbeth through reduced cast and orchestra, streamlined libretto, minimalistic design, and an economy of physical movement. My focus on sculpture, dance, and installation to bring to opera - in that bodies are sculpture, conscious movements are dance, and sculpture combined with architecture is installation.
The Greek word for theatre is theatron, a place of seeing. The Japanese word for stage is butai, a place of dancing. The Yarra Valley is a place of tasting. I encourage performers to always taste their movements. We offer you a new way to see and ‘taste’ Macbeth.
Director/Designer: Luke Leonard
Composer: Guiseppe Verdi (1567 - 1643)
Arr. Peter Stopschinski, commission by Gertrude Opera 2016
Michael Lewis OAM as Macbeth
Co-production Gertrude Opera and Monk Parrots NYC