The iconographic universe of Plensa in Verdi's masterpiece

"The sleeping and the dead are but as pictures. 'Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted devil!"
William Shakespeare (Macbeth, Act II, Scene II)

Verdi's love affair with Shakespeare began with Macbeth, which he considered “one of the greatest human creations". He revered the Bard's works and this was the first opera he based on them. His aim was to turn his tragedy into “something out of the ordinary”. For Jaume Plensa, capturing Verdi and Shakespeare's Macbeth was a youthful dream so when Gerard Mortier asked him at Salzburg what opera he would like to direct, he did not hesitate. He has had to wait 25 years for the dream to come true.

When the witches foretell that Macbeth will be the next king of Scotland, Lady Macbeth gives destiny a hand by murdering the present King. But the witches' prophecies turn Macbeth into the bloody assassin of friends and rivals until, alone and furious, he faces his last battle and dies. A team of singers who combine dramatic intensity with vocal authority take on the roles of the honest general driven to murder and deceit and his boundlessly ambitious wife.

One of the most fascinating sentences in the entire work — “Sleep no more” — shows us that Macbeth, besides becoming a killer, deprives himself of the possibility of sleeping peacefully for the rest of his life. Jaume Plensa, who has been haunted by these words since childhood, will set his entire iconographic universe in movement, creating a powerful aesthetic and ritual presence that makes the ideal setting for this sombre, theatrical tragedy, full of diabolical energy, performed to music masterfully conducted by Maestro Josep Pons.

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Melodramma in four acts. Libretto by Francesco Maria Piave and Andrea Maffei
World premieres:14/3/1847 at the Teatro della Pergola in Florence (first version) and 21/4/1865 at the Théâtre Lyrique de Paris (second version)
Barcelona premiere: 1/7/1848 at the Gran Teatre del Liceu
Last Liceu performance: 23/10/2016
Total number of Liceu performances: 117 

  • Approximate running time 3h 20min
    • First part 1h 20min
    • Interval 30min
    • Second part 1h 10min

Artistic profile

Stage director, set and costume design
Jaume Plensa
Antonio Ruz
Urs Schönebaum
Associate stage director
Leo Castaldi
Costume assistant
Nadia Balada
Set designer assistant
Marc Salicrú
Joan Samper
Stage director assistant
Emilio López
Project assistant
Joan Samper and Ariadna Vila (Plensa Studio Barcelona)
Choreography assistant
Èlia Lopez
Musical director assistant
Rodrigo de Vera
Gran Teatre del Liceu


16, 19, 22, 25, 28 February
18, 20, 23, 26 February & 1, 3 March
16, 19, 20, 22, 25, 28 February
18, 23, 26 February & 1, 3 March
16, 19, 22, 25, 28 February
18, 20, 23, 26 February & 3 March
1 March
16, 19, 22, 25, 28 February
18, 20, 23, 26 February & 1, 3 March

Cast change

  • Mezzosoprano Ekaterina Semenchuk will made her debut at the Liceu singing Lady Macbeth, replacing Anna Pirozzi, who due to schedule problems will not be able to participate in this production.
  • Soprano Alexandrina Pendatchanska will made her debut at the Liceu singing Lady Macbeth, replacing Ekaterina Sannikova.
  • Baritone Željko Lučić will sing the part of Macbeth, replacing Carlos Álvarez, due to health reasons.

February 2023

Turn D-H
Turn PB
Turn T
Turn P
Turn B
Turn H
Turn E
Turn F
Turn A

March 2023

Turn PE
Turn C

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Cronologia liceísta

Consulta AQUÍ la relació històrica de funcions de Macbeth de Verdi al Gran Teatre del Liceu.


Segueix l'òpera en directe a Catalunya Música el diumenge 19 de febrer a partir de les 18:45h dins del programa Directe a l'òpera.

Lectura fàcil

Pots descarregar AQUÍ l'argument de l'òpera en format Lectura Fàcil.