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With such a strong Lady, it would have been easy for Macbeth to be overshadowed. But there was no danger of that with Olafur Sigurdarson. Sigurdarson has already sung the 1865 version on stage at Holland Park Opera, to considerable acclaim. He brought a sense of the stage, a feeling of drama, with him to the concert platform. For much of the performance he virtually ignored his score, singing apparently from memory. Sigurdarson's is a powerful but impressive voice, it is admirably focussed and rather beautiful. But Sigurdarson does not attempt to seduce you with beauty, he sings Verdi's music and imbues it with superb drama; like Miricioiu, Sigurdarson has a fine sense of line. His performances of the apparition scene and Macbeth's death scene were superb. In the opening scenes both Sigardarson and Miricioiu imbued their dialogues with a feeling for the drama that was riveting -- you just didn't need any staging.

Paolo Pecchioli was an equally fine Banquo; again his role was beautifully sung and you just regretted that Verdi did not give him more to sing. Pecchioli seemed a little detached from the drama, but only in contrast to the two principals, and musically he was a match for them.

The singer in the role of Macduff only gets a single chance to shine and Andrew Rees did that superbly. His account of his Act 4 aria managed to combine power and emotion with a firm sense of line and a good grasp of Verdian operatic style, even if his voice is not yet truly Italianate.

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Copyright © 2 April 2008 Robert Hugill, London UK


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