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Opera 'Macbeth' premiered at NCPA


09-08-2016 17:59 BJT

The king of opera has returned to Beijing. Placido Domingo has taken on the role of the (king gone mad) in Giuseppe Verdi's masterpiece, Macbeth, based on William Shakespeare's play. The premiere of the opera in China commemorates the 400th anniversary of the bard's death. It also features Israeli conductor Daniel Oren and director Hugo de Ana.

Domingo has added yet another baritone role of the ambitious but conflicted character of Macbeth for the opera’s Beijing premiere. Nearly in his 80s, the maestro is still on the road of art to explore and pursue.

Destructive power, unlimited ambition and evil are at the heart of Giuseppe Verdi’s dark masterpiece Macbeth, his first adaptation of a Shakespearean play.

World-renowned tenor Placido Domingo portrays the title character, who became a victim of his own ambition.

This is the fourth time the maestro is working with the National Center for the Performing Arts in Beijing.

"I am impressed by the progress of NCPA. As a young company, it has produced over 50 operas during the past nine years of its existence. I believe that there will be 100 opera productions done by the time the NCPA celebrates its 20th anniversary," said Placido Domingo, tendor.

In 1993, Domingo founded the Operalia, an annual international voice competition to help launch the careers of many of today’s opera stars.

Its 20th edition was celebrated at the NCPA in Beijing.

Among the winners then were some big names of today's opera scene in China, such as soprano Sun Xiuwei. She plays the fearless and unforgettable Lady Macbeth.

"I’m very grateful for the opportunity to work alongside the best in the industry, with Domingo, our set and costume designer Hugo de Anna. The NCPA has really assembled the best of the best, and there are also some budding young opera talents participating in the show. The NCPA has always been nurturing young talents, giving them a stage to shine. Because I myself have also been given that opportunity twenty years ago, and I’m glad to see that the NCPA has continued that tradition," said Sun Xiuwei, soprano.

Adapted from a Scottish historical legend, Shakespeare’s five-act tragedy Macbeth tells the story of the titular character, a brave Scottish general, who received a prophecy to become the King of Scotland.

His relentless wife persuades General Macbeth to kill in order to usurp the throne. The tragedy portrays their downfall, caught up in the quest for power. 

Macbeth is one of the respected “four tragedies” written by Shakespeare, alongside Hamlet, King Lear, and Othello.

From the cast, orchestra to stage settings and costume, everything was to the highest standard for the opera's China premiere. 

"It's been a great honor to work with master Domingo again and right here in my home country. The audience in Beijing are very lucky to enjoy an opera feast like this, and it will also be made into a 4k opera movie, so that more people could appreciate the beauty of the art form," said Tian Haojiang, baritone.

"Macbeth" will run till Sunday at the NCPA with Domingo playing two of the five shows. Russian baritone Sergey Murzaev will play the the title role in the other three performances.

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