Monday, January 14, 2008

Macbeth Redux.

Well, I'm a bit at a loss my friends. Tony and I attended the live Met Opera HD screening of Verdi's Macbeth on Saturday. It was...good? Well, let me do it properly. By the by, did you know that Macbetto is Italian for Macbeth?

The Good:

  • Verdi: The man could compose him some opera. The chorus writing for this piece is particularly amazing.
  • The Singers: The singing was impeccable. I loved Željko Lucic's (Macbeth's) sound, and he and John Relyea (Banquo) sang a beautiful opening duet (I was really impressed---you have to be an almost perfect singer to sing Verdi really well). Maria Guleghina (Lady Macbeth) has a HUGE and gorgeous voice. Remember the Memorex commercials? That's how Tony and I felt when she first started singing. Lady Macbeth's part is a near-impossible challenge, and Ms. Guleghina handled it admirably.
  • The Chorus: The singers of the chorus had a TON of work to do, and they were obviously very carefully prepared. I've never heard the Met Chorus sound like that.
  • Added Bonus: We got to see the funny short chorister from Roméo et Juliette! He actually knew some of the words this time (some).
The Bad
  • The Production: Again, the production just didn't cut it for me. Like Hansel and Gretel, this Macbeth was modernized (1940s-ish?), and the seemingly random choices (weird Magic 8-Ball thingy?, plethora of chairs?) just didn't gel for me. I didn't get it, and it took away from the story. As Tony put it, "Putting guns in Shakespeare just doesn't work." It's true. It looks stupid when a gun-toting character suddenly decides to use a sword instead...because a sword is easier? Hmm.
Next up is Manon Lescaut with the elegant and fabulous Karita Mattila!

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