Verdi – Come dal ciel precipita from Act II of MacBeth (1847)

by Max Derrickson

Giuseppe Verdi (1813-1901)

Come dal ciel precipita from Act II of MacBeth (1847)

MacBeth was Verdi’s first journey into Shakespeare’s genius, and his enthusiasm for the English dramatist’s masterpieces lasted him the rest of his life – his last two opera’s were saved for the great playwright with Otello (1887) and Falstaff (1893).  All were resounding successes.

MacBeth tells the story of greed, murder, madness and black magic in Ye OldeScotland.  As a war hero, MacBeth is greedy for more power, but even more so is his wife’s insatiable ambition.  After defeating armies fromIreland andNorway, MacBeth and his friend Banquo stumble across three witches.  Their dark magic prophesizes Kingship for MacBeth and later for Banquo’s descendants.  MacBeth and his wife quickly murder
[. . .]
marched upon, and beheaded MacBeth.

Such melodrama, black magic and intrigue allow for fantastic music-making by Verdi, such as Banquo’s aria in Act II, Come dal ciel precipita, when he realizes that danger lurks for him and his son.