It is said that Macbeth, and even more La forza del destino, is one of Verdi's operas which brings bad luck. Obviously in 2013 we can't help but laughing at it. Could an inspiring, often sublime, music bring bad luck? It's more likely to be the opposite, it helps being well! However, at the time of the shooting of the thriller movie Opera, in 1987, the master of Italian horror films, Dario Argento, chose to set it at the Teatro Regio in Parma. He carefully chose Macbeth as the opera to put up in the fiction of the movie, where the young soprano debuting in the role of Lady Macbeth, is involved in savage and bloody acts. You must remember the use of many real crows fluttering on the stage and on the frightened public during the great entrance tune of Lady Macbeth. Is Verdi just like Hitchcock? Why not...
In a dark wood in Scotland, Macbeth and Banco, generals of the Scottish army of King Duncan, are returning from a successful battle against the rebels. They meet a group of witches, gathered around a bonfire while commenting the recent witchcrafts. The witches greet Macbeth with a prophecy: he will soon be appointed Thane of Cawdor. Banco is told to be the founder of a great line of future kings. The first of the witches' prophecies is soon fulfilled when a herald approaches, announcing that Macbeth has been appointed Thane of Cawdor by the King. At the castle, Lady Macbeth, received the news, is determined to convince the husband to kill King Duncan in order to ascend the throne. Torn between the incitement and his own integrity, Macbeth starts having visions which will end up tormenting him for the rest of his life. When the King spends a night at Macbeth's castle, he murders him, becoming King.
Duncan's son Malcolm is accused of his father's murder and is forced to flee to England. Now that Macbeth is the King of Scotland, Banco and his son Fleanzio have to be killed to ward off the second prophecy. Banco is killed by a gang of murderers sent by Macbeth but Fleanzio manages to run away. During a banquet at the castle, Macbeth has more visions: Banco's ghost is hunting and terrorizing him. Lady Macbeth tries to calm him down, assuring him he's just having visions, since the dead can't come back hunting the living. Macbeth is scared and decides to consult the witches again.
The witches, gathered around a cauldron in a cave, explain him the meaning of his visions. They conjure up three apparitions for him: the first is a head covered with a helm advising Macbeth to beware of Macduff. The second, a bloody child, tells him he can't be harmed by a man “born of woman”; the third apparition, a crowned child carrying a twig, says he will not be conquered until Birnam Wood marches against him. Macbeth is then shown the ghosts of Banco's descendants, eight future Kings of Scotland. Macbeth chases them away and then faints. Lady Macbeth convinces him to kill Macduff's wife and sons to ward off the prophecies.
At the border of England and Scotland, Malcolm, King Duncan's son, and Macduff are organising an army to march on Scotland and free their homeland from the bloodthirsty tyrant. Meanwhile at the castle, Lady Macbeth is guilt-wracked; whilst sleepwalking, she recalls the killing of Duncan, Banco and Macduff's family and dies in her sleep raving. The army of Malcolm and Macduff arrive at Birnam Woods. The soldiers slowly approach the castle disguising themselves with leafy branches. Macbeth understands the witches' prophecy is about to come true and confronts the army. He is killed during a duel with Macduff, making the witches' prophecies come true.