There is tough competition for the best recording of 'Macbeth', but for me the combination of Abbado's explosive and rhythmically taut way with the score and Shirley Verrett's tour de force as Lady Macbeth give this one the edge.
- Amazon By Julian Grant -
Even though Macbeth is the title character of Verdi's opera, most people will choose a recording of it based on the performer of the role of Lady Macbeth. My own opinion is that Elena Souliotis is, more than any other singer I have heard in this music, just right for the part.Verdi clearly stated that he wanted a harsh, choked sound from his Lady Macbeth.
The legendary Italian baritone Giuseppe Taddei, born in Genoa on 26 June 1926, passed away in Rome on 2 June. Equally adept at singing dramatic and comic roles, especially in bel canto scores, Mr. Taddei was one of the finest Verdi singers of the Twentieth Century. His Metropolitan Opera début, in his calling-card role of Falstaff, came in 1985, nearly fifty years after Mr. Taddei's professional début. Mr. Taddei possessed one of the most beautiful natural baritone voices of the Twentieth Century, a voice preserved on many standard-setting recordings. Voix-des-arts.blogspot.com
Coproduced with Siberia's Novosibirsk Opera, this new Macbeth uses cutting-edge multimedia technology to give the viewer a fresh perspective on the work. Google Earth satellite images plunge us into the heart of the action: a gloomy square surrounded by soulless buildings, and the interior of an aristocratic residence. Witches are no more a part of Tcherniakov's Macbeth that the duel was of Onegin, but once again the atmosphere is one of brooding claustrophobia. Tcherniakov has chosen a great cast, beginning with the marvellous Lithuanian soprano Violeta Urmana as Lady Macbeth. Greek baritone Dimitris Tiliakos is a powerful presence as Macbeth, while the Italians Ferruccio Furlanetto (bass) and Stefano Secco (tenor) are sumptuous as, respectively, Banquo and Macduff. In this, his second production at the Paris Opera, Teodor Currentzis, music director of the Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre conducts with verve and a splendid theatrical sense.
This score undoubtedly marks an important turning point in Verdi's operatic writing, because it brings to the foreground the characters' introspective, psychological aspect, which would be the fundamental feature of most of the maestro's later creations. This recording documents the production staged at Novara's Teatro Coccia during the 2013-2014 season, with Dario Argento tackling for the rst time the direction of an opera. Verdi's masterpiece was not new to the director from Rome, who had used it as backdrop for his 1987 lm Opera, set at the Teatro Regio in Parma, indeed during a staging of Macbeth. From the master of thriller and horror one could only expect a direction in line with his previous lm-making background, and from that point of view, this Macbeth does not fail expectations, with its bloody, indeed gory scenes; they are, at any rate, consistent with the dark and brutal character of Shakespeare's tragedy. But aside from all of that, Dario Argento's direction reveals extraordinarily theatrical qualities, greatly enhanced by the conducting of Giuseppe Sabbatini who, on the podium, takes tempos that fit perfectly the unrolling of the drama.
Macbeth signifies the beginning of Verdi"s life-long preoccupation with William Shakespeare where he came close to emulating the master with his congenial composition of Othello and whom he even surpassed with Falstaff. Aware of the great musical as well as literary challenge, Verdi wrote the scenario himself and essentially concentrated the piece on three main protagonists: Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the prophecy of the witches . . . During the first performance on 14 March 1847 in Florence the audience reacted with great displeasure. The piece only gradually established itself in the world of opera. Luca Ronconi’s new production of Verdi’s early masterpiece which was first performed in June 1987 at the Deutsche Oper in Berlin was received in Germany and around the world with great praise.
Fabio Luisi conducts the Metropolitan Opera in this production of Verdi's work, based on Shakespeare's tragic play. Zeljko Lucic stars in the title role with Anna Netrebko as his wife, Lady Macbeth. The cast also includes Joseph Calleja as Macduff and René Pape as Banquo. New York Observer stated: “.. a superstar cast … the most potent: Anna Netrebko's ferociously exciting star turn as Lady Macbeth … a "demented" performance, one so exciting it propels both artist and audience figuratively to the brink of madness.”
Claude D'Anna's film of Verdi's Macbeth is a gloomy affair, stressing the descent into madness of the principal villains. It's acted by the singers of the Decca recording of the opera (with two substitutions of actors standing in for singers) and the lip-synching is generally unobtrusive. The musical performance is superb, conducted by Riccardo Chailly with admirable fire, and sung by some of the leading lights of the opera stages of the 1980s… –Dan Davis
The Metropolitan Opera presents the first of Verdi’s three operas based on Shakespeare, ‘in a stylistically eclectic, grimly effective and, at times, intriguingly playful production’ (New York Times) by English director Adrian Noble, making his Met debut. At the time of composition, Macbeth was unique. Not only was it considered both musically and dramatically bold, but it was the first opera that can truly be described as Shakespearean. It was the first that altered operatic conventions to serve the play rather than converting the play into traditional operatic formulas.