Saturday, May 11, 2013

Macbetto di Monaco

Martin Kusej production of Macbeth is not one of my favorite but it is way above in quality when compared to the productions of this opera offered by The Met or the ROH -- sadly both available on DVD.
Last year I was lucky to see 2 superb production of this opera: one was staged by Ivo van Hoove and presented in Lyon, and another was the most delightful Peter Konwitschny production in Leipzig. Before that I was lucky to see the Richard Jones production in Lille (one of those Glyndebourne productions that didn't make it to DVD even though it was hugely more deserving than the awful Meistersinger or their very mediocre recent Don Giovanni, for example), and the next back in my memory is the Krzysztof Warlikowski production in Brussels that was one of my most astounding moments at the opera in general [which tells a lot since I'm not an unconditional fan of Verdi's work].

Two productions that I did not blog about and should be considered in the league with the show by  Richard Jones were the Dima Tcherniakov production presented in Paris (amazingly conducted by Teodor Currentzis!) and the Munich show staged by Martin Kusej. Tcherniakov production was very impressive, very clever, and very contemporary, but in the bulky sets the show somehow missed its target: it looks great on DVD though.  As for the Martin Kusej show, I remember I was very enthusiastic despite the critics that were fiercely trashing the show as not really adapted for the opera. Well, the opera critics are very conservative but I did not think that the modernity of the Kusej work disturbed them the most... You can judge it for yourself in less than an hour time when Macbeth will be live streamed from the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich on this link


 Cast: Zeljko Lucic, Nadja Michael, Wookyung Kim, Goran Juric, Emanuele D'Aguanno... Massimo Zanetti will conduct (hopefully well!)


It's from Macbeth despite being reminiscent scene from Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk



Here is your trailer:





  • I forgot to mention one more recent production of this opera that I was able to see: Peter Stein show in Rome (it was premiered in Salzburg several month before coming to Rome). That show was scenically borderline catastrophic, but it was musically sensational. Ah yes, I also saw the Robert Carsen show in Berlin that I thought was not really living up to expectations (full of Carsen's gimmicks that didn't add up to much). 
  • Macbeth is a Verdi opera I like a lot [contrary to the racially offensive opera Il Trovatore], together with Don Carlo, Otello and La Traviata [OK Rigoletto in concert too, and I could stomach Aida --if and only if it is staged by Calisto Bieito ;) ] 
  • I saw this Kusej production 4 years ago and I remember that I was not thrilled about Nadja Michael who is a TERRIFIC actress but her voice was not really good for the role. Her renditions of Wagner roles are not great either but that Lady Macbeth was particularly weak vocally. She was WONDERFUL and Médée in the Warlikowski production of the eponymous opera in Brussels, and was wonderful in Incoronazione in Madrid a year ago. I believe that's her niche -- rather than Verdi. Zeljko Lucic could be good too although Scott Hendricks is unbeatable in this role. Particularly impressive vocally was Evez Abdulla who I listened in awe last year in Lyon. 
  •  OK, the show is about to start! In bocca al lupo tutti!
  • I know every bit of this score and I still like it ;)
  • Some of the best choral pages of the entire Verdi opus are in this opera.
  • Man, Goran Juric is only 30!  A terrific bass at this young age. He's apparently a member of the BSO troupe. No surprise that Mortier saw his potential and invited him to be part of the new production of Lohengrin in Madrid next year.
  • Nadja is a powerhouse and has a scenic presence to die for but her timbre is not for Lady Macbeth, and those screams when reaching the top notes are not pretty. I really like Nadja but... Zanetti is really very kind to her -- he adjusts the timings to suit her rhythm although the rest of his tempi is even faster than what we usually get in this opera performances.
  • Guys if you get to listen to Iano Tamar singing Lady Macbeth, that's something you will remember: no, it's not perfect (far from it) but it's heart-wrenching with vulnerability and impressively powerful (well, in any case it was at La Monnaie and at the Opéra National de Lyon)
  • The sets looked better at the theater than on video (I'm not complain about filming!)
  • Ah yes, that butterfly made so many critics angry at the time! ;)
  • Mi si affaccia un pugnal
  • Zeljko Lucic is a very good singer but his tendency to act old-fashionably can be distracting. This is particularly obvious in these wide video shots.  I noticed that also on DVD but I thought it was the fault of the director...
  • I guess I have to listen to Goran Juric live singing before actually jumping on the bandwagon... Excellent!
  • I had to double check and indeed I did listen to the excellent Wookyung Kim singing Cassio in Dresden 2 yrs ago.
  • OK, the show definitely looks much less impressive on video than when seen in auditorium. Singing is good so far (Goran Juric!!!) and the chorus is terrific. Zanetti is a tad too fast but nothing to be agonizing about..
  • La luce langue -- nice effort but naaah. Sorry.
    Scenically OTOH she remains great!  
  • Nice work by Kusej: during the day they are all nice people, trying to look nice with smiles on their faces -- during night they become faceless balaclava wearing murderers.  Piles of sculls on the ground are supposed to get us getting used to seeing them there --->  "banality" of the murder(er)s
  •  Come dal ciel precipita -- Goran Juric is GREAT!
  •  Poor Nadja. Si colmi il calice is one of the crucial moments in the opera and her Lady Macbeth is not delivering the good tonight.
  • This scene is carefully staged and the intention is to mix the epochs (note the costumes). Despite the historical distance and all the progress between the 11th century and our time, the hypocrisy, greed for power, crime... all that remained invariably the same in essence... I recently saw Cosi fan tutte in Madrid, produced by Michael Haneke and the statement is pretty much the same (although the topic is obviously totally different)
  •  Madness is coming: kids wearing the heads of murdered men -- good Martin! This scene is very well staged altogether. Lucic is not acting great but that's a different issue.
  • Oops: two delays between the chorus and the orchestra.
  • Scene from the pic above. Love the chorus and Zeljko sings very well too!
  •  INTERMISSION 
  • It is clearly not the best Kusej but it's still Kusej which means so much better than most of what you can see elsewhere in the opera-world these days. Goran Juric is the name to retain! Very impressive. 
  • Part Deux: 
  • On we go! 
  • This ambiguity with children is great, although that idea has been so much better explored by Warlikowski: here the children remind Macbeth of all the atrocities he committed, all the children he killed... and at the same time they remind us of the fact that the real children growing in the environment of crimes and killings will grow the same as their parents... and the next war or large scale slaughter arrives before there is time for healing 2-3 generations... so that the atrocities become the historical constant... Lucic sings very well but his acting is definitely poor. 
  • Here comes Kusej again to fill up the gap and emphasize the ambiguous connection between Macbeth and his victims - children, young girls... Levitation is there to give it a 'fictitious' note. 
  • Ora di morte e di vendetta  -- ça passe, enfin presque!
  • Act 4 and we wait for Ah la paterna mano,  that Andrew Richards used to sing divinely. Good luck to Wookyung Kim!
  • Good work by Martin Kusej in the opening scene to Act 4! Are you watching?!
  • Molto bravo Wookyung Kim! Bravissimo, as someone from the crowd shouted.
  •  La patria tradita is actually the only aria in this opera I don't like. It has that nationalistic flavor both lyrically and melodically and it tickles those bad "human" feelings...
  •  Zanetti EXCELLENT in Part Deux! 
  • Kusej stages beautifully the sleepwalk scene. This is an example to tell the difference between the great directors and those that just aspire to greatness.
    Ah yes, Nadja Michael is undoubtedly one of the best actresses in opera ever. She even sang her final scene good, except for dodging the final note ;) 
  • Bravo Zeljko!
  • Yes, the show was very good even though it was less impressive in video. I am glad that the Bayerische Staatsoper did decide to let the broader audience worldwide see this show, which is much better than their Don Carlo, and better than anything you could see in the cinema as far as opera is concerned. 
  • Danke BSO!

Nadja Michel enjoys the ovations next to maestro Zanetti

Zeljko Lucic, a valiantly singing Macbeth

The best singing tonight - Goran Juric

Wookyung Kim - bravissimo!

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