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."
will be performed at the Minack open air Theatre, week beginning July 8th. Seven performances, including matinees on Tuesday and Thursday.
Tickets are on sale from the Minack box office:
Photos by Linda Petzing
VERDI TOOK 30-plus curtain calls at the 1847 Florence premiere of Macbeth.
It's easy to see why.
Events cascade with lightning speed.
Macbeth and his lady understand each other instinctively.
They evince few qualms.
Carnage flows as night follows day: "What's done is done."
Later, as the pace eases, the psychology intensifies, climaxing in the magnificent sleepwalking scene and Macbeth's soured realisation that what awaits him is revilement and oblivion.
It is the exiles, lamenting their "wretched country" who will restore the light.
will be performed by Duchy Opera at the Minack open air Theatre, week beginning July 8th.
Seven performances, including matinees on Tuesday and Thursday.
Tickets are now on sale from the Minack box office:
BBC Singers in Good Friday musicAfternoon Concert
James Weeks conducts the BBC Singers in a programme featuring his own work for choir and narrator, Orlando Tenebrae, as part of repertoire linked to Good Friday. The programme continues with two pieces inspired by Good Friday, with the BBC Singers performing first Kenneth Leighton's Crucifixus Pro Nobis and then, Paul Drayton's The Passion of Christ as told by Mark the Evangelist.
Tomás Luis de Victoria: Three Tenebrae Responsories
Ecce quomodo moritur iustus
O vos omnes
James Weeks: Orlando Tenebrae (with narrator)
Quid commisisti, o puer SWV56
Die mit Tränen saen, SWV378
Die mit Tränen saen, SWV42
Kenneth Leighton: Crucifixus Pro Nobis
Paul Drayton: The Passion of Christ as told by Mark the Evangelist
Jesus: Andrew Rupp - baritone
High Priest & Pilate: Jamie W. Hall - bass
Narrator: Olivia Robinson – soprano
Peter: Stephen Jeffes – tenor
Marin Andre – conductor
Ends at 4.10pm
The Company past and present will be giving Paul a 'send-off' on Sunday January 13th at 7 - 8pm. Please contact us if you would like to join us.
Chairman Andrew Lancaster pays tribute to Paul Drayton at his Farewell Concert (Mevagissey)
This concert marks the end of an era for Duchy Opera: 14 years of musical leadership from one of the most prodigious talents of his generation.
Paul Drayton has been at the helm of the company in almost every sense, as musical director, composer, libretto translator, chorus master and pianist for innumerable concerts.
During these years he conducted A Masked Ball, The Wreckers, Tosca, Semele, The Vampire, The Merry Widow, Carmen, Die Fledermaus, his own opera The Hanging Oak, La Traviata and The Merry Wives of Windsor, at venues including village halls, schools, community centres, theatres such as the Northcott Exeter, the Wharf Tavistock and the Hall for Cornwall, and of course at the Minack.
He has directed, programmed and played for our concerts and shows in a vast range of venues, from country houses to Heartlands, from Mevagissey Jubilee Hall to the Tresanton Hotel St Mawes, and almost all points in between.
A keen educationalist, he has been at the forefront of Duchy's initiative The School Run, taking opera to Cornish Primary and Secondary schools, and wrote and directed The Mermaid of Zennor incorporating 270 Primary school children plus the company into a touring production.
As if this were not enough, these years have seen his work performed by choirs from Cornwall to Sweden, commissions from The Three Choirs Festival, Dame Gillian Weir, the cathedrals of Washington DC and Kansas Missouri,
and the Kings Singers.
And all of this has been done with great humour, tact, insight and energy…. Paul, it has been a privilege to be associated with you.
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’