Of course the murder of Duncan takes place off-stage Steve - that is the way Shakespeare wrote it. As Verdi tightens up the whole plot it would have been impudent to say the least had he shown the murder ON-stage. I went on the Bank Holiday Monday and was surprised how many empty seat there were (credit crunch or all away on holiday?). But it was an immensely enjoyable evening though I did wonder if it relied a little too much on knowing the play. Why does Macbeth kill Macduff's children? In the play it is left to his henchmen. Some of the witches stuff also left a lot to the imagination - where was the cauldron? These are minor points and not really important. But the main thrust of the opera was very well played and sung especially Banquo, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and, as usual, Pappano was brilliant. If you have not seen it - go!! - F,Pyne
31 May 11
When it comes to playing virtuoso villains, Simon Keenlyside is peerless, as evidenced by his brilliant Don Giovanni a couple of years ago. Though his singing is equally good in this production of Macbeth, the staging is simply too inert to give him enough to do (the big murder happens offstage, for example), and when he is given something to do, he is instructed to play it matter-of-factly. The lack of any kind of histrionics just made the whole production that little bit boring despite the wonderful singing of Liudmyla Monastyrska, every bit Keenlyside's match. Unfortunately, she resorts to gurning in a hammy silent movie style way to introduce dramatics the director has failed to choreograph or emphasise, and that didn't work for me. For me, the performance of the night had to be Dimitri Pittas as Macduff who blazed through his scenes with real brio and fully embodied the passion of a man whose children have been murdered, even as his singing matched up to the excellent standard of the main duo. He's a man to watch. Pappano was brilliant (I'll book any opera if he's conducting), but this production was a mixed bag dramatically, and certainly no Don Giovanni. - Steve
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