Two Truths (2007)

Project Summary

Glyndebourne education ran a primary workshop with Salhouse School to help Key Stage 2 children discover what opera is all about. During the workshop, students learnt original opera choruses, met professional musicians and opera singers and experienced first hand what happens when music and theatre are combined.

Years 3, 4, 5 & 6 took part in the workshops and learnt a specially composed musical story called Two Truths, based on Verdi’s opera Macbeth. The piece was commissioned by Glyndebourne education and written by James Redwood, who led the workshop. The workshop culminated in a 30-minute performance in the school hall, with two opera singers from the Glyndebourne Chorus, in which the school children formed two choruses of King Duncan’s loyal followers and the witches.

Synopsis

After many years of peace, rumours of an English plot to attack Scotland have reached Duncan, Scotland’s king. In search of answers, he goes outside the castle walls. Exhausted by his thoughts, he falls asleep.

The witches arrive, led by Hecate, who casts a spell upon Duncan, giving him visions of the the future and urge him to fight England. Duncan awakes, though remains unsure of what to do.

Duncan arrives back in the Castle Grounds and is hurriedly met by the wife of Macbeth, who warns him that he people are planning rebellion. Duncan dismisses this as nonsense, yet is horrified to hear the people singing a song he deems as critical of him.

Left alone, Duncan reflects on what has happened to him. The thought of war and the lives that would be lost horrifies Duncan. Lady Macbeth continues to urge him to fight, asking to think of what the people will think of him should he not do something. Duncan remains doubtful.

Duncan returns to the desolate place, hoping for help from the witches. They send him into a trance, telling him that Lady Macbeth is a liar who is trying to provoke the people against him so that her husband might take Duncan’s place. The witches urge Duncan to kill Lady Macbeth, and thrust a dagger into his hands.

When Duncan comes to, he is horrified at the sight of the dagger and at the thought of killing Lady Macbeth. He thus convinces himself that the witches are lying, and that the people must be crushed before they attack him.

Meanwhile, alone in her chamber, Lady Macbeth plots the downfall of Duncan. She hides a dagger in her chamber, ready to kill him. Hecate intervene and warns Duncan of Lady Macbeth’s plans. Duncan finds the dagger, convincing him that the witches were right. When Lady Macbeth returns, Duncan threatens to kill her.

Desperate, Lady Macbeth brings attention to the people chanting outside, and once again urges him to act against them. Duncan is torn. However, the people begin singing a new song, and it is clear that they wish to praise Duncan for his merciful leadership Now Duncan realises his preoccupation with Hecate and Lady Macbeth had deafened him to the true words of their song. A messenger burst in, with news that the English are advancing from the border. The witches try to incite Duncan, but he banishes them, having now regained his senses and resolves to stand firm and united with his people.

Cast

Duncan Christopher Carroll
Lady Macbeth/Hecate Helen Jarmany

Creative Team

Composer James Redwood
Librettist Alison Fenner
Director Natascha Mernell
Designer Kitty Callister