Music and Vision homepage 'Elgar and Chivalry' by Robert Anderson - available now from Elgar.org

 

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Duncan's son Malcolm (Javier Palacios) and the Macduff of Marco Berti, stripped of wife and children by the bloodthirsty Macbeth, have joined forces at the head of those determined to end Scotland's woes. Shakespeare has them exiles in England, lamenting their fate in the rough borderlands. The stage director Phyllida Lloyd locates them on the floor of Lady Macbeth's bedroom. Perhaps this is dramatically nude, though they are surely more than a figment of 'Lady''s imagination. It is comforting that on this occasion she remains abed, managing to sleep through their passionate expression of grief, the bold affirmation of their leaders, and the purposeful decision to end their country's reign of terror [listen -- 'La patria tradita' (Act 4), DVD2 chapter 7, 1:05-1:39].

Lady Macbeth (Maria Guleghina) begins her psychological collapse in Act 4. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte
Lady Macbeth (Maria Guleghina) begins her psychological collapse in Act 4. DVD screenshot © 2005 Opus Arte

'Lady' has hitherto been the driving force behind Macbeth, but she is the first to collapse psychologically. In his early maturity Verdi had all the musical equipment to manage the sleepwalking scene, making it both terrifying and moving. The Barcelona orchestra takes full advantage of Verdi's subtle scoring, but Bruno Campanella on the rostrum, having given us much excitement elsewhere, underplays, at too fast a tempo, its terribilità. Maria Guleghina succeeds in putting across the wretched guilt of a conscience that has borne too much, and the pathos of a broken woman. It is a gripping performance [watch and listen -- 'Una macchia' (Act 4), DVD2 chapter 9, 0:00-1:56].

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Copyright © 1 March 2006 Robert Anderson, London UK

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