quarta-feira, 24 de outubro de 2007

Macbeth no Met

To appreciate the performance of the longtime soprano Maria Guleghina in the role, you must remember that Verdi wanted his Lady Macbeth to be “ugly and evil,” and her voice to be “harsh, stifled and dark,” as he put it in a letter. Though often strident, Ms. Guleghina’s singing was chillingly powerful. Her sustained, full-voiced lyrical phrases may have been hard-edged, but they filled the house. And her blazing top notes sliced through the combined sound of the chorus and orchestra.

But I was bothered by her rhythmic carelessness, as she tried to get her earthy and unstable voice around Verdi’s often ornate phrases. In Lady Macbeth’s crucial sleepwalking scene, I wanted more tenderness and ethereal phrasing. Ms. Guleghina faked it.

She certainly embodied the character. In her opening scene, when Lady Macbeth receives the letter from her husband reporting the predictions of the witches, she is awakened in bed. And after her aria, that’s where Macbeth finds her. Their tussling on the mattress makes clear that part of her sway over her malleable husband comes through sex.

As Banquo, Macbeth’s comrade general, the bass John Relyea was excellent, singing with robust power, dark colorings and dignity. Macduff, who finally kills the tyrannical Macbeth, is essentially a one-aria role for tenor. The young New York-born Dimitri Pittas sang it with melting sound and dramatic urgency.

It was hard to resist the overall production and variable vocal performances when Mr. Levine was conducting the work so splendidly.»

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