THE Welsh National Opera presented its own take on Macbeth in a flurry of flames, lightning and otherworldly magic.

Modern military costumes helped bring Giuseppe Verdi's 19th-century interpretation of “the Scottish play” bang up to date.

The famous coven of witches grew from three to more than 20, all in freakishly-chilling make-up.

The booming voice of soprano Mary Elizabeth Williams - as the power-hungry Lady Macbeth - dominated the first two of the opera's four acts. Luis Casino as Macbeth himself more than fought his corner in the vocal stakes, showing vulnerability, ambition and self-defeating tyranny.

Saltire flags were draped across the stage of Cardiff's Millennium Centre for several scenes and the imaginative sets did not disappoint. Castle rooms became a forest and burning torches were held aloft by mourners at King Duncan's funeral procession. Moving black and white video footage of modern-day conflict zones also appeared once Scotland was plunged into turmoil.

The toil and trouble of Verdi's demanding score proved no problem for the dextrous orchestra.

Subtitles above the stage explained the all-Italian vocals effectively, although it was perhaps no substitute for The Bard's actual words.

The well-known tale of corrupting power and bloody deception was given a fresh remix.

Declan Harte