The finale to Act 1 of Verdi’s Macbeth is not the only great one in the opera. Like the previous one this finale is untouched by the 1865 revision. Macbeth has become unhinged by Banquo’s ghost whom only he can see. The ghost is a party crasher. Obviously his presence ruins the evening. Of course, as the opera (and the play) progresses Macbeth regains emotional control only to have his murderous wife lose her mind to which Macbeth reacts with the famous “It [life] is a tale…”
This number does not rise to the lyric and dramatic heights of the Act 1 ending, but Verdi’s structure, momentum, and rhythmic drive give it an emotional force that when well performed carries the audience with it. It also has Verdi’s unique musical signature prominently displayed. The singers are Renato Bruson, Mara Zampieri, and Neil Shicoff. The late Giuseppe Sinopoli conducts.