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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
A MACBETH THAT HOLDS ITS OWN IN THE COMPETITIONFeb. 3 2009
Charles D. novak
- Published on Amazon.com
"What sublime music! I tell you that there are things in it that make your hair stand on end!" This was written by Emanuele Muzio, Verdi's good friend while he was composing the opera. This is one of my favorite operas. I never get tired of listening to the music. The DVD choices are crowded. There are currently ten available and yet another new release is coming up at the end of February. You would think this work would have casting problems due to the demands of the music. The cast on this DVD - Giuseppe Altomare, Otha Zhuravel, Pavel Kudinov and Rubens Pelizzari are no match for the singing on the CD version with Leonie Rysanek, Leonard Warren, Carlo Bergonzi and Jerome Hines, but they hold their own nevertheless. They all have such youthful energy and seem to actually enjoy the challenges of the music. This is an outdoor production at the Sferisterio Opera Festival in Macerata, Italy. The set consists of a steep and huge runway carpeted in red facing sideways to the audience. The only furniture is one high backed chair representing the throne. When the opera begins a real wind is blowing adding to the dramatic opening scene. The wind subsides as the performance goes on. There is also a number of fog machines scattered around the set working overtime to creat atmosphere. Otha Zhuravel as Lady Macbeth is a wonderful actress. I would even say "fantastic." She's a bit over the top but the role almost demands it. She has all the notes and is fun to watch. Guiseppe Altomare as Macbeth makes his entrance wearing a hat that looks like it was designed by Black & Decker, the tool company. He also attacks his roll with gusto and sings and acts his brains out. The entire performance is a lot of fun, if one can say that about Macbeth. I watched it twice the same day the DVD arrived. I now have six of the ten DVD's and my order is already in for the new one coming up at the end of this month. Still holding FIRST PLACE is the Glyndbourne Opera DVD from a 1972 production. Josephine Barstow sings the crown off Lady Macbeth and is backed up by an equally dynamite cast but every opera fan should have more then one video of this opera and the one I just reviewed makes an excellent second choice.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Great staging and customsApril 1 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
The most impressive aspect of this production is the staging and customs. The wide scenario is wonderfully used. In fact is a pleasure (as much as Macbeth can be a pleasure) to watch. The combination of black (darkness) and red (blood) is just perfect. The witches are very well choreographed and Banquo's ghost appearance with the touch of yellow makes a compelling scene. This production allows focusing more on the characters and their humanity (good and bad) rather than the gloom surroundings. It is a timeless staging using modern techniques. It is the best of the production. As for the signing, they are OK, they act convincingly and the music is well played, but it is not great. In Verdi's Macbeth, Lady Macbeth's role is much more prominent than in Shakespeare's making it almost the center role. Verdi also didn't want Lady Macbeth's voice to be a beautiful one. Still Zhuravel's voice is difficult to listen to, at some points I am not sure that it is her voice or a sound production problem, but it is unpleasant. She is into her character and portrays "evil" almost perfectly. If you are a fun of this opera, you should watch this DVD.
2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Good ShowMarch 23 2009
- Published on Amazon.com
After watching this video again recently, I have revamped my review entirely. If you are going to purchase a dvd of Verdi's Macbeth, this is the one to get as of this writing, June 1, 2010, in my opinion. The singing is lovely, and the sets and costumes are modernist, but very true to the nature of the story. Everything works in this video.
The men all have beautiful voices and are anywhere from easy to hear to the tenor, who has a downright impressive voice. The Lady Macbeth is easy to hear, with decent coloratura, excellent diction, a voice that is not pretty, but is big enough to be effective for the character, and she looks great. Her angular look along with the costumes makes her the quintessential villainess. Even the ballet is effective in this video. I highly recommend purchasing it.
For a great audio recording only, I would go with the EMI recording with Sherrill Milnes in the title role.