|Posted on January 15, 2012 at 3:05 PM|
The Norsk Opera recently staged Verdi’s opera, Macbeth, to great acclaim. Verdi was inspired, of course, by Shakespeare, which he read regularly throughout his life. Verdi’s Macbeth was under-appreciated in his own lifetime, but remained one of his favorite compositions.
In the second Act, the people appear – the public who are living under the terror reign of Macbeth. Verdi’s empathy for those who are persecuted in their own homeland could not be more inspiring or comforting at a time when so many are struggling to shake off the oppression of despotic rule. And so, it is only fitting that we measure our own compassion by the instructive influence of Verdi’s beautiful, timeless and universal chorus.
The chorus is variously staged. At Oslo this month, the opera choir 'public' struggled forward on a blank stage, addressing the audience directly while holding the photographs of their missing and the dead - men, women, husbands and children. Here, the Gran Teatre del Liceu of Barcelona presents their version of “Patria oppressa!” Below is an English translation created by Opera Australia:
Oppressed land of ours! You cannot have
the sweet name of mother
now that you have become a tomb
for your sons.
From orphans, from those who mourn,
some for husbands, some for children,
at each new dawn a cry goes up
to outrage heaven.
To that cry heaven replies
as if moved to pity,
oppressed land, it would
proclaim your grief for ever.
The bell tolls constantly for death
but no-one is so bold
as to shed a vain tear
for the suffering and dying.
Oppressed land of ours!
My homeland, oh my homeland!