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My Macbeth experience

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Quote Originally Posted by sospiro View Post
Part 3

In a way I wish I'd never started on my Macbeth Experience because it's been so wonderful but now it's over & I'm home & I'm feeling quite low.

Anyway a few points about the two performances. For the first time ever I sat at the very front, first night (27th May) slightly to the right of Pappano, last night slightly to his left. One thing I wasn't expecting was how fascinating it would be to watch Pappano at work. He grunts & snorts & snuffles & sings along (albeit under his breath) & bounces around so much I'm surprised he doesn't fall off his podium! It sounds like it would be distracting but it wasn't. Obviously the orchestra was louder than if I'd been in the circle (or the Gods) but being so close to the singers compensated & it was great to have nobody sitting in front of me.

I took the opportunity to watch the orchestra during times when I didn't need to look at the stage like during some of the witches' choruses. The intense concentration on the musicians' faces was incredible.

The artists must debrief & get together in between performances to tweak stuff even if they don't actually rehearse because some things were done slightly differently the second time, like in the sleep-walking scene. Last night Lady Macbeth claws the Doctor's face which she didn't do the first time (poor Lukas!)

As some of you know, Simon Keenlyside has been wearing a brace on his left arm for the past few months. He injured it playing sport & when the doctors came to repair the damage, they found an old injury (I think he broke his wrist during Die Zauberflöte) which hadn't healed properly so decided to sort everything out in one operation. He said at the Macbeth Insight that his arm was fine but he would wear the brace during performances for safety. After Macbeth is stabbed, he carries on singing for a while (as you do) then after he's really dead, the body rolls heavily down some steps. Very cleverly choreographed & very spectacular.

When Simon appeared on stage last night he wasn't wearing the brace. He seemed to use the arm freely so I assumed he'd changed his mind about wearing it but Macbeth didn't do the fall after he'd died. We asked him afterwards & he said over the weekend he'd fallen asleep on his way home to Wales (presumably he wasn't driving!) with his arm out the window & when he woke up the brace was missing. It had fallen off somewhere & he couldn't find it & it didn't seem worth getting another one made. Seems an odd story but he's always getting into scrapes so it's probably true.

In this production we see Macbeth writing the letter to his wife which she then reads out Nel dì della vittoria io le incontrai in the next scene. Simon started with a blank piece of paper & actually wrote two lines of writing on it - would love to know what he wrote.

Judging by how Simon sang at the rehearsal I had to agree with the Telegraph's review which was for opening night. But for whatever reason, when I saw him on the 27th he was absolutely fabulous & then last night he was even better.

It has just been amazing couple of weeks & I've learned so much & immersing myself in one opera is something I'll definitely try & do again, even with the post euphoria depression.


Hearing Lukas Jakobski sing Come dal ciel precipita with just piano accompaniment at the Macbeth Insight & meeting him at the Stage Door (three times!!). He's such a lovely guy who has a fabulous voice & I'd love to see him in a more substantial role.

Watching the amazing Antonio Pappano and seeing his incredible skill, energy & enthusiasm at close hand.

Simon Keenlyside's Pietà, rispetto, amore which was awesome the first night & out of this world last night. Before the audience erupted at the end of the aria, I heard the woman next to me whisper "Oh my God!" & that's what I felt. I hope to be able to keep in my memory that image of the sobbing, despairing & tormented Macbeth half lying across his bed.
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  1. Wood's Avatar
    Thanks for this. A very interesting series of observations Sospiro.