Betrayal and murder come to the Gardyne

Scottish Opera will bring Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’ to audiences across Scotland this autumn and will be heading to Dundee’s Gardyne Theatre on September 27.

This revival of Dominic Hill’s 2005 production stays true to the Shakespearean tale of betrayal, murder and power.

The opera chronicles the fatal downfall of Macbeth – urged on by his wife - to realise the prophecy of a trio of witches and claim Scotland’s throne.

Hill’s operatic production is inspired by the war-ravaged Balkans of the late 20th Century.

‘Macbeth’ was performed to sold-out shows at Glasgow’s Citizens Theatre and at Edinburgh’s King’s Theatre earlier this year.

Hill and designer Tom Piper have created a dystopia of camouflage-clad leaders and chain-smoking witches to tell the story of civil war and a lust for power.

Scottish Opera staff will deliver workshops for children at Craigiebarns Primary School and will lead pupils in exercises and role-play based around the production.

Following these sessions, six children will be selected to play parts in the production itself.

Director Dominic Hill said: “We wanted to find a contemporary world that could carry the action of ‘Macbeth’ with civil war and a struggle for power, but which still has a strong religious undercurrent to it. To convey that idea, we’ve taken inspiration from the Balkans conflict of the late 1990s, and of course audiences will recognise the same tragic themes from modern religious conflicts that we still see on the news today.

“But it’s important to say that this isn’t a hi-tech, high-testosterone take on Macbeth – it’s true that the production is influenced by images of the Balkans Conflict, but it also takes inspiration from Russian religious icons and painting.

“The libretto is largely lifted from Shakespeare’s writing, but we’ve tried to ensure that the action on stage will be something that today’s audiences can engage with.”

Scottish Opera’s Director of Education, Jane Davidson said: “Although it’s great to be able to invite six children to actually play parts in the performance, our main aim is really that each and every one of the pupils at Craigiebarns Primary School who take part in the workshops will get something out of it.

“It’s important to give pupils the chance to gain new insight into things that not everyone comes across at a young age, like opera.”

Leading the cast is David Stephenson, who returns to the role after being praised as “convincing and compelling” in the Spring performances.

This production also features former Scottish Opera artists Shuna Scott Sendall and Marie Claire Breen.