from the Minack website: https://www.minack.com/review-13-copy-2/
Verdi’s Macbeth – Review
REVIEWED BY JENNI BALOW
"What folly! If only Macbeth had shrugged aside the dubious prediction made by a cackling group of witch-hags that he could be King of Scotland, a tragedy might have been averted, but Shakespeare didn’t see it that way.
Neither did Giuseppe Verdi, the Italian composer who had heard the tale, and reckoned “this tragedy is one of the greatest creations of man”, as he set about expressing the dark horror of a murderous pursuit for power, through music.
He proudly premiered his work in Florence in 1847, where it was well received and later adapted, before being almost forgotten for more than a century. Now it has been revived, particularly successfully by the English Touring Opera this season.
So the Duchy Opera’s timing is perfect, because this passionate, brooding piece is being talked about again, and here, with a stunning international cast of supreme singers, director Angela Agutter Thomas has set out a high class production.
The stage is bleakly bare, the king’s pennant flutters despondently, the only spectacle comes from the voices of the principal singers, and a retinue of turbaned courtiers, soldiers in feathered tam-o-shanters, tartan townsfolk, cut-throats and refugees, whose fine individual voices harmonised with energy.
On the first night, Armenian Arshak Kuzikyan, who also sang the title role with ETO in Cambridge, tugged at our hearts, both vulnerable and magnificent alongside the formidable Sera Baines, whose searing soprano voice equalled her ambitions for her king.
She is sure and driven, he is at first reluctant to bloody his hands, and soon it will be too late for guilt and anguish.
Australian tenor Thomas Birch thrilled as a powerful-lunged Macduff, complimenting Ed Hawkins playing Banquo, also fresh from the ETO production. He is a musician who came late to singing. Glad that he did.
And then we have the talented Toshi Ogita from Japan, a third year scholar at Truro Cathedral, playing Malcolm, with a fine future ahead of him, and local soprano Jessica Chantler, superbly singing in her first principal role.
There is only one quibble, I really disliked the fake horror masks worn by the 16 witches. Surely wild hair and clever make-up would have been more appropriate? Disconcertingly, their cackles quickly became the sweetest of voices, in three-part harmony.
On the other hand, the ghostly procession of Banquo’s royal descendants wearing classical simple white masks, exactly matched the tone of the production.
The key to the success of the piece was, of course, the deft musical direction of Timothy Dean, with his fine orchestra, chorus master Clive Ellison, hand sewn costumes by Sheila Collins, Wendy and Derek Elliott, and lighting by Ben Blaber.
Incidentally, real history tells us that King Macbeth of Scotland reigned from 1040 to 1057, after his troops killed King Duncan in battle."
What we are doing
Following successful sold-out performances at the Minack open air theatre in 2017,
Duchy Opera will be performing Verdi’s opera Macbeth at the same venue in July 2019.
Sunday July 7th (Dress Rehearsal before a small audience)
Monday July 8th to Friday 12th 8pm (Five evening performances)
Tuesday 9th and Thursday 11th 2pm (matinee performances).
Principal roles will be double cast so only four performances will be required.
Our opera will be a traditional production.
We will be performing in English using the Kalmus score with the unpublished Andrew Porter translation commissioned by ETO.
Our Director will be Angela Agutter Thomas (director of Duchy Opera’s Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, Don Giovanni, Madame Butterfly and The Merry Wives of Windsor 2018).
Conductor is Timothy Dean, Music Director of Duchy Opera, previously Music and Artistic Director of British Youth Opera and Head of Opera at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
If you wish to audition
Please contact Duchy Opera via this link and we will send you details. You will then be asked to submit your current CV with a recent photo, along with your name, address and contact details.
You may wish to add links to your website and audio/YouTube files.
Auditions for principal roles will be held on Saturday December 15th and Saturday January 12th (both, daytime only) at Feock Methodist Chapel near Truro. Please specify your preferred date.
Audition pieces: (any edition, in English or Italian. We will perform in English).
1) Act 1 recitative ‘Sappia la sposa mia...up to Lady Macbeth's entrance
2) Act 3 ‘Gran scena delle Apparizioni’ including aria ‘Fuggi, regal…’
3) Act 4 Recitative and aria ‘Perfidi….Pieta, rispetto, onore’.
1) Act 1 ‘Vieni! T’affretta!... and cabaletta ‘Or tutti sorgete’
2) Act 2 ‘La luce langue’
3) Act 4 Sleepwalking scene ‘Una macchia’
Act 4 recitative and aria ‘O figli miei...Ah la paterna mano’
Act 2 recitative and aria ‘Studia il passo….Come dal ciel precipito’