Verdi MACBETH The Physician

Bruce Burroughs as Macbeth Physician

In this production of Macbeth (by David Vosburgh for the New York Lyric Opera), the Physician appeared and sang throughout the opera, not just in the Sleepwalking Scene—a vocal line was provided for him in all the great ensembles, which I truly enjoyed singing—and as a character he was as malevolent as the Macbeths and was in fact perceived to be in conspiracy with them. He was constantly at the Lady’s elbow (in the lengthy ensemble with chorus that follows the discovery of Duncan’s murder, in the banquet scene, and so forth). At the very end of the opera, after Macbeth’s death and before the jubilant final chorus, I was dragged in and literally thrown on the ground at the feet of the triumphant Macduff (Ron Naldi), the Physician being the last living person who could possibly be punished for the horrors that have transpired. One of the nicest compliments I ever received came from Donald W. Johnston, Sr., the director of Lyric Opera. Don came to me after the first full run-through in costume and confessed that both he and the conductor (Thomas Booth) suffered from grave doubts about the concept and had fussed at David about it in every production meeting: “But now that I see it—Bruce! You’re really pulling it off!”


                                                                          With Deniece Jensen as Lady Macbeth

© Bruce Burroughs 2021