Verdi's "Macbeth" opens Saturday at the Lyric, featuring Baltimore-born bass James Morris and the Baltimore Opera.
Here, a Baltimore opera buff's irreverent account of the action, with apologies to Shakespeare and Verdi. Warning: If you don't know how this tragedy comes out, stop reading now.
Three groups of witches on a heath appear
With prophecies for Macbeth that he's eager to hear.
He'll become Thane of Cawder and then Scotland's king.
Banquo will father royalty; that's the news that they bring.
King Duncan names Macbeth the new Cawder Thane,
Unaware that Macbeth plans to shorten his reign.
A letter from her spouse reaches Lady Macbeth.
When her husband returns, they plot Duncan's death.
King Duncan arrives and is shown to his room.
Macbeth sees a dagger that will seal Duncan's doom.
Lady Macbeth smears the guards with the blood of King Duncan.
They're accused of the murder as they lie dazed and drunken.
Macbeth is now king, Duncan's son Malcolm flees to Britain.
Assassins kill Banquo, his off-spring Fleance isn't smitten.
At a banquet Macbeth learns of Banquo's demise.
He alone sees the ghost in dead Banquo's guise.
Macbeth revisits the witches and sees apparitions quite scary.
"Watch out," they warn. "Of Macduff please be wary."
No man born of woman can harm him, they say.
(Macduff's birth was by Caesarean, not the womanly way.)
He'll be safe till Birnam Woods come to Dunsinaine.
The Macbeths plan to have the Macduff family slain.
My clan all are dead now, Macduff does disclose,
As he joins Malcolm's forces, Macbeth to depose.
"Will these hands never be clean?" Lady Macbeth keeps on crying.
She's lost her mind and pretty soon will be dying.
Camouflaged soldiers appear, Birnam Woods seems in motion.
Noises of combat are heard. What a hell of a commotion!
Macduff kills Macbeth as all joyfully sing.
"Hail to Malcolm who's now our new Scottish king.