- Simon Keenlyside (Tenor)
- Steven Ebel (Tenor)
- Nigel Cliffe (Bass)
- Raymond Aceto (Bass)
- Liudmyla Monastryrska (Soprano)
- Elisabeth Meister (Soprano)
Notes & Reviews:
Black, red, cream and gold are the colours that define Phyllida Lloyd's Royal Opera House staging of Verdi's robust, yet penetrating setting of Shakespeare's Scottish play. Manipulated by a whole coven of cunning, scarlet-turbanned witches, the characters often evoke figures in a splendid Gothic fresco. With Simon Keenlyside making his British debut, as an athletic, brooding Macbeth and Liudmyla Monastyrska as his Lady, both imperious and subtle, this performance, masterfully conducted by Antonio Pappano, goes far beyond mere sound and fury. '... an impressive company showcase, full of moments when chorus and orchestra are at full throttle. Whipped up by Antonio Pappano's baton, they sound truly thrilling.' -- The Guardian
"An impressive company showcase, full of moments when chorus and orchestra are at full throttle. Whipped up by Antonio Pappano's baton, they sound truly thrilling... Credit should perhaps go chiefly to Pappano, who keeps the pace pushing forward, but a large amount is due also to Simon Keenlyside, singing the title role in the UK for the first time. Yes, there are other baritones with more velvet in their sound, but Keenlyside captures the guilty king's uneasy swagger, lit up in the relentless chiaroscuro of Lloyd's staging. He brings innate dramatic conviction to his vocal performance as much as to his acting; his aria before the assault of Birnam Wood is tremendous." -The Guardian
"Anthony Pappano remains the go-to man for Italian opera; he even turns Verdi’s rum-tum-tum moments into suspense and urgency and makes us forget that this mostly forward-looking work was composed during his “galley” years. Pappano uses the composer’s 1865 additions but allows Macbeth’s final aria from the 1847 edition as well. It’s a dark score and Pappano gives us the weight of the situations; he keeps the music moving and lets the double basses and brass have a wonderfully gloomy field day. Assisting him in the drama is our Macbeth, the superb singing actor Simon Keenlyside. Arguably not the possessor of the juiciest of baritone voices, he nonetheless embodies the tormented character perfectly. He moves alternately stealthily and arrogantly, and is alert to everything going on around him. The voice has no trouble with the role’s high tessitura and his phrasing and sense of the Verdian line is peerless. His reading of Macbeth’s final arias renders the character a tragic figure." -Classics Today
BBC Music Magazine
Lloyd's Covent Garden staging of Verdi's opera has a good deal going for it; there's plenty of atmosphere in Anthony Ward's aptly dark-toned sets...Keenlyside sings the title role with imagination and insight, even if his lyric approach doesn't command the full cut and thrust of a true Verdi baritone...Pappano is an authoritative Verdian, punching the score out into the theatre.
Run Time: 170 min.
Picture Format: NTSC, 16:9, Color
Sound Format(s): LPCM 2.0, DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English, French, German, Italian, Spanish
Submitted on 04/23/12 by Dan Coombs
Everyone is familiar with the story of Macbeth, but Mr. Keenlyside brings a true-seeming broodiness to the title role – at first reluctant, then willing to commit murder at the urging of his wife (played masterfully by Liudmyla Monastryska), then expecting to triumph over the dictates of fate and finding that what the coven of witches revealed to him is becoming all too true. It is a testament to Mr. Keenlyside’s performance that you feel both sad for his character and glad to see him get what is coming to him all at the same time. The imagery of the crown being kept in a golden cage fits perfectly.
As for Lady Macbeth, Ms. Monastryska is captivating, initially greedy and cunning, but subtle and driving at the same time, simultaneously evoking feelings of sadness and just desserts as the deeds that she and her husband have done drive her sleepwalking – and the blood that has been shed preys on her subconscious. Verdi demands vocal gymnastics from his leading lady, and she delivers with room to spare. Simply marvelous.
As for the overall production itself, it is well staged, not too much set and not too minimalist, with just the right amount of blood evidenced for this viewer. Antonio Pappano does a good job with the orchestra, supporting the production and not distracting from it, while at the same time responding to the nuances of his cast. And the coven of witches (lots of them!) all in scarlet turbans is a nice touch. I enjoyed this immensely. Highly recommended!
Submitted on 06/25/12 by KlingonOpera
Works DetailsVerdi, Giuseppe : Macbeth
- Performers: Simon Keenlyside (Tenor); Steven Ebel (Tenor); Nigel Cliffe (Bass); Raymond Aceto (Bass); Liudmyla Monastryrska (Soprano); Elisabeth Meister (Soprano)
- Conductor: Antonio Pappano
- Ensemble: Royal Opera House Orchestra
- Period Time: Romantic
- Form: Opera/Operetta
- Written: 1847