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Thread: My Macbeth experience

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Default My Macbeth experience

    Part 1

    Yesterday I was at ROH for a Macbeth Insight Programme in anticipation of the production later this month. Hosted by Lloyd Bracey, it was held in the Clore Studio. The 'stage' is really only floor space & we sat above it.

    Scheduled to last three hours, I wondered what the heck they could talk about for all that time when most people will at least know the story of the play but it was so good, so entertaining, it was over far too soon.

    My seat was B34 & first thing I had to do was to ask some guy who was sitting in my seat to move; the 'some guy' looked up & I realised it was Tony Pappano.

    No sign of Simon Keenlyside though who I'd really wanted to see.

    Pappano took us through the main parts of the opera with Geoffrey Paterson (répétiteur & ROH assistant conductor) on piano, Polish bass Lukas Jakobski (Pietro in the Domingo Boccanegra) and Pappano singing bits of the Macbeth parts (he's a very good baritone) and the mezzo parts (not so good!). It was like Pappano did in the 'Opera Italia' series; singing, translating & explaining as he went along. Sounds awful but it really works. He has such an engaging personality, it was funny & very informal.

    After a bit of joshing, where Pappano kept saying Jakobski was singing the wrong note (he meant it but we were in stitches & Jakobski was looking at him as if to say "and what would you know?"), Jakobski sang the whole of Banco's final aria Come dal ciel precipita. I can't describe how amazing that was, spine tingling & to be that close to such a fabulous powerful voice was totally awesome.

    Pappano left as he was conducting that evening & sadly so did Jakobski, would love to have heard a bit more from him.

    After a 20 minute interval, who should wander in, but the gorgeous Simon but with his arm still in a brace. Don't know why he didn't take part earlier but I've read he likes to keep a lot in reserve, even at rehearsal, so maybe that was the reason. Anyway he sat chatting with Lloyd Bracey for about 25 minutes. He explained how he learned a new role & how he saw the character of Macbeth (evil but not the sharpest knife). He likened the role to a 400 metre run, if you start too strong/too fast you'll never make it to the finish.

    I didn't really learn anything new but it was great to see & hear him so relaxed & I did notice he's got a lot more movement in the arm than he had during Pélleas. He held his coffee in that hand & he didn't seem in any pain. He will be sword fighting with his right arm though for the performance.

    After Simon left we were treated to some dancing. In this production there are singing witches and dancing (non-singing) witches & the choreographer explained & took us through their dance routine.

    After that we had some history of Verdi & the play & three real actors enacted a few of the major scenes. I wasn't expecting that & it was a real bonus.

    Then we were introduced to a guy called Rob Barham who is the ROH armourer & who had brought along some of the items which will be used in Macbeth. They're all beautifully made in-house and adapting Simon's sword so he could use it with his right (wrong) hand hadn't been a problem.

    Barham said he would be starting work soon on items for Les Troyens which was going to be set in the Crimean War period.

    And as I said, over too soon. Part 2 (rehearsal) next week.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Almaviva's Avatar
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    Envy envy envy envy I'm green with envy I should move back to a major metropolitan area.
    Oh way, there were no boobs, so never mind.
    "J'ai dit qu'il ne suffisait pas d'entendre la musique, mais qu'il fallait encore la voir" (Stravinsky)

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    How did SK injure his arm..........?

    Do they charge admission fee for these opera "discussions"

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Almaviva View Post
    Envy envy envy envy I'm green with envy I should move back to a major metropolitan area.
    Oh way, there were no boobs, so never mind.
    The dancers were all female & wore dancing clothes so plenty of flesh on display ... but I was far more interested in the six foot three hunk of Polish bass who sat right in front of me when he wasn't required.
    Ann

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    How did SK injure his arm..........?
    Torn a tendon playing sport of some sort in America about three months ago. Photo below is from Pelléas.




    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    Do they charge admission fee for these opera "discussions"
    Of course they do & it's not cheap but couldn't put a price on the experience.
    Ann

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Interesting!

    SK should make a good Macbeth. Better than Lucic, at least. Who's singing the missus?

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    .. Who's singing the missus?


    Liudmyla Monastyrska - have to confess I'd never heard of her before now

    Ann

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Interesting. I really do like her voice, but it will be interesting to see if she has the steel and agility available for Lady Macbeth. They often get utterly destroyed by the completely crazy coloratura and the fact that their voices and vibrato are too big (like Maria Ghuleghina).

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    Senior Member DarkAngel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    Interesting. I really do like her voice, but it will be interesting to see if she has the steel and agility available for Lady Macbeth. They often get utterly destroyed by the completely crazy coloratura and the fact that their voices and vibrato are too big (like Maria Ghuleghina).
    ouch...........just watched that version recently and thought is was pretty good.




    Waiting for the visual spectacle of a Pier Pizzi production which will arrive shortly......


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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DarkAngel View Post
    ouch...........just watched that version recently and thought is was pretty good.




    Waiting for the visual spectacle of a Pier Pizzi production which will arrive shortly......

    I also think Ghuleghina is a very good Lady Macbeth, although from what I've seen of that production, she fares a lot better in the Met DVD with Lucic. She does not have the voice to sing it, though, and her coloratura has a tendency of being rather sloppy. But she more than makes up for what she lacks in technique with her acting abilities. She does one of the most dramatically intense Lady Macbeths ever. As for that DVD you've just bought? Don't expect to be blown away by the singing I found the CD version at the local library, and the vibrato of the Lady Macbeth is so wide, you could walk through it. But I have heard some good things about the production. Haven't seen it, though.

    Also, I reviewed the Met Macbeth here, if you want to check it out.

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    Part 2 - rehearsal

    Never been to a rehearsal before so didn't know what to expect. I thought it would be 'stop start' but not a bit of it. This was so like a performance, if the orchestra hadn't been in Tshirts & tracky bottoms you'd think it was the real thing. Sometimes the singers 'marked' to conserve their voices but that didn't spoil it.

    My seat was in the Amphitheatre which was a first for me & although the view was a bit restricted, the sound was excellent. A much better balance than from my usual 'whites of their eyes' view from the stalls.

    Liudmyla Monastyrska (Lady Macbeth) was absolutely fantastic. Brilliant actress & a couple of times didn't 'sing out' so I can't wait to hear the full force of her voice.

    Simon Keenlyside (Macbeth) was probably on about 90% but I've read he never gives full welly until the night. His Pietà, rispetto, amore was definitely full welly though & gave me goose bumps. His acting was his usual oscar standard.

    Bit disappointed with Raymond Aceto (Banco). He was gravelly & growly which I don't remember from Rigoletto (Sparafucile) last year & I couldn't help comparing him with John Relyea's Banco.

    Dimitri Pittas (Macduff) was OK but it got me thinking that it must be difficult for an opera house to attract an 'A' List tenor for Macduff because the role's not that big.

    Supporting singers were fine, including the lovely Lukas Jakobski* (Doctor) & the lovely but garlicky Steven Ebel* (Malcolm). *see below

    Six curtain calls later & defying vertigo, I shuffled out into the bright May sunshine to lurk by the Stage Door with all the other ladies who are old enough to be most of the singers' mothers & who should know better.



    First out was Steven Ebel who I didn't know & didn't recognise, but one of the other lurkers did. He gave us all a very garlicky hug & it's a good thing he doesn't have to do a close up in the opera itself. Then the lovely Lukas who looked surprised & delighted that anyone would want his autograph. It was so chaotic after Boccanegra, I hadn't seen him so I'd taken my Boccanegra stuff with me & he signed everything & I got a couple of nice photos. The Lovely Lukas is Angelotti in the upcoming Guapo/Gheorghiu & also a minor role in Les Troyens so that's two more DVDs at least he'll be on.



    Unfortunately none of the other singers came out through the Stage Door but the ROH staff did tell us they'd left the building, so we didn't waste time waiting.

    Had a great time & will definitely go to another rehearsal, especially if it's on a Saturday. It started at 11.00 am, scheduled for three hours with a 25 minute interval. I learned something new - during the interval I was amazed to see people sitting in the corridors unpacking their sandwiches and drinks. ROH is usually so strict about bringing food in, I'd had something to eat beforehand, but was starving by 3.00 pm.

    Part 3 - the performance (next week)
    Ann

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    Senior Member Aksel's Avatar
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    Exiting! How does Monastyrska's Lady Macbeth compare to Guleghina's?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Aksel View Post
    Exiting! How does Monastyrska's Lady Macbeth compare to Guleghina's?
    I thought Guleghina's acting (on both DVDs) was brilliant. I thought she portrayed the impatient, evil & scheming wife to perfection. I'll be sitting a bit closer when I see the performance so I'll be able to judge Monastyrska better then. And compare the singing.
    Ann

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    Moderator mamascarlatti's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
    Bit disappointed with Raymond Aceto (Banco). He was gravelly & growly which I don't remember from Rigoletto (Sparafucile) last year & I couldn't help comparing him with John Relyea's Banco.
    So more "Il Compound Cioccolatone"?

    Dimitri Pittas (Macduff) was OK but it got me thinking that it must be difficult for an opera house to attract an 'A' List tenor for Macduff because the role's not that big.
    I thought he was very moving and heartfelt in the Met Macbeth. Maybe he'll be better when you can see his acting.

    Had a great time & will definitely go to another rehearsal, especially if it's on a Saturday. It started at 11.00 am, scheduled for three hours with a 25 minute interval. I learned something new - during the interval I was amazed to see people sitting in the corridors unpacking their sandwiches and drinks. ROH is usually so strict about bringing food in, I'd had something to eat beforehand, but was starving by 3.00 pm.

    Part 3 - the performance (next week)
    It'll be interesting to hear the difference between the rehearsal and the performance. Looks as though Simon is going to be in it despite his injury.
    Natalie

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    Senior Member sospiro's Avatar
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    Guardian review.

    For some reason, she (Monastyrska) refuses to kiss Keenlyside properly, and all their embraces are fudged.

    I wonder if someone has been eating garlic?
    Ann

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