While we were busy repressing childhood terrors like fear of the dark, ghosts and rabid dogs (and rabid ghost dogs), horror filmmaker Dario Argento (whose biggest idol is Hitchcock, naturally) harnessed his demons and scared the crap out of his audiences with cheesy 80s/90s thrillers such as Deep Red and Creepers.
Die hard fans lament Argento's post-90s downtick, but this should make up for it: The Italian filmmaker bows his opera directorial debut this fall in Verdi's Macbeth set in bloody, violent WWI, the landscape haunted by ghosts.
Verdi's Macbeth is archive material to Argento, who used it to frame the plot of his 1987 Italian-language thriller, Opera, (above, dubbed, NSFW for gore, obvs) about a diva in the role of Lady Macbeth (filmed at Teatro Regio di Parma), who is stalked by a bloodthirsty murderer.
Argento elaborated to La Repubblica about his opera debut (all translations OC):
"I set the work during the First World War, the conflict that's the
most ferocious and bloody. It will be cast with scenes of fighting and
bombings, it will explain what it means to take power with blood. In the tragedy, the diabolical couple's unbalanced: the black soul is Lady
Macbeth. It's the goriest of Shakespeare's tragedies, between crimes
and ghosts, it's the perfect environment to create a climate of anguish.
Naturally I'll use special effects."
It opens on October 4th at Novara's Teatro Coccia and continues to its co-producers, Teatro Politeama in Catanzaro and Teatro Verdi in Pisa. Casting's still TBA, although Giuseppe Sabbatini is listed as conductor, and (whoops!) Dimitra Theodossiou's website states that she'll be singing Lady Macbeth.
On lead character psychology, Argento said:
"I'm fascinated by the idea that a woman with such grand force, at a certain point, goes crazy and turns weak because she can't stand the tension. It's a tragedy that suits me: Macbeth and the wife are a diabolical couple. She's strong, but he's more servile. It made me think of the Novi Ligure murders -- it's the same dynamic between the two."
We're cool with it -- like Terry Gilliam and Michael Haneke before him -- even if we would have prefered to see movie directors like David Lynch and Quentin Tarantino crossover first. We'll wait...