Iain Farrington

Pianist, organist, composer, arranger

Giuseppe Verdi - Macbeth: Prelude, Ballet Music & Arias

for chamber ensemble and soprano


Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901) composed his tenth opera Macbeth in 1846-7, and it was premiered in Florence, Italy. Verdi subsequently revised the opera in 1864-5 for a production in Paris. The opera is based closely on the Shakespeare play and includes a major soprano role for the character of Lady Macbeth. This arrangement for chamber ensemble includes two of the main orchestral sections as well as two of Lady Macbeth's scenes. The Preludio (Prelude) sets the scene of foreboding in the brooding landscape of Scotland. Lady Macbeth's first entrance in the opera opens with her reading a letter from her husband describing his encounter with the witches. She resolves to make him King by any means. The Ballo (Ballet) was added by Verdi for Act 3 of the 1865 Paris production, as one was required for the Parisian audience. The music is upbeat and often joyful, in contrast to much of the opera's mood. In Lady Macbeth's final scene, she is seen sleepwalking and attempting to clean her hands of blood.


Instrumentation: flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, horn, trumpet, timpani, violin 1, violin 2, viola, cello, double bass (12 players)


Available to purchase from Aria Editions here


CONTENTS: Preludio, Scena e Cavatina (Lady Macbeth) - Nel di della vittoria, Ballo (Ballet Music), Gran scena del sonnambulismo (Lady Macbeth) - Una macchia


Listen to a live performance here:


Preludio (3’09”)

Scena e Cavatina - Nel di della vittoria (4’53”)

Ballo (Ballet Music) (10’48”)

Gran scena del sonnambulismo - Una macchia (9’45”)