Probably the best available version
Maureen W. Swift | Hanover, NH, USA | 10/30/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)
"While not perfect, this is a very good production of Macbeth. Mara Zampieri is an almost perfect Lady Macbeth, although her overdone facial expressions, while understandable in a theatre setting can be somewhat offputting in closeup. Her singing, however, meets the demands of the role quite well. Verdi wanted a singing actress who could express villainy in her voice rather than just a beautiful voice, and Zampieri fills this role well. Renato Bruson is also a very believable Macbeth. James Morris as Banquo is somewhat wooden, but the main, really the only major, drawback is Sinopoli. His conducting is quite good, but he hogs too much of the screen. The camera focusses on him not only in the overture and preludes to the various acts, but also at times when the chorus is singing on stage. While obviously the conductor is important in every opera, it is the action on stage that one wants to see, not the conductor, especially a hyperactive one."
Screw thy courage to the sticking place!
Anastasia | London United Kingdom | 12/30/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This production from Berlin in 1987 finds conductor Sinopoli and team in good form. Sinopoli's conducting is very rhythmic and exciting overall, but tends to be somewhat rushed in places. The orchestra and chorus do a good job and one can hardly fault the ensemble work of all the performers involved.The production is traditional (and also minimalist). Yes, true emotion is seldom touched on here, but I'd rather have this type of melodramatic approach than the kind of contrived production 'concept' to which one is so often subjected. The costumes are realistic to the period, but it is a very static production: note that as the aria begins the character usually takes centre stage! That being said, I have to mention that there is something very effective about dressing Macbeth and Lady M almost entirely in red: to indicate the innocent blood they will/have shed?Renato Bruson as Macbeth sings the role very well, and one wonders if anyone can surpass this achievement. However, do not expect a dramatically compelling interpretation.Mara Zampieri has a sinister enough voice for Lady M. She has a magnificent technique: good coloratura and an exceptional trill. For me her interpretation does not match Callas's Lady M, as Zampieri lacks two things: she is often out of tune on acuti and her interpretation is not very subtle. And nit-picking: she omits the top D-flat in the sleep-walking scene. Nonetheless, we can be grateful for her presence in the cast.The supporting cast, which includes James Morris and Denis O'Neill, sing well, and I cannot think of better 'comprimarias' than those two. "Macbeth", for me is not a very easy work, like "Trovatore", "Otello" or even "Don Carlos", to understand and love. But with "Macbeth" (specifically in Lady M's music) Verdi holds up a beacon of things to come from his gifted pen."
Sinopoli is a magician!
Janos Gardonyi | Toronto, Ontario Canada | 11/25/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Giuseppe Sinopoli's untimely death was a great loss to the music world. A tremendous, sensitive interpreter of Italian opera, this video DVD is a valuable document of his art and should be so treasured. We are fortunate that it shows a great deal of his conducting, his careful attention to detail, emotional involvement and communicating power. Notice for example the finale of the first act, the breathtaking `a capella' ensemble with the heartbeat- like tympani accompaniment later joined by the orchestra with a beautiful melody that seems to descend straight from heaven.
Macbeth is an important work in Verdi's opus. Here he used Shakespearean text and attempted serious characterization for the first time. He took great pains for the parts of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as well as the chorus of the witches and understood the meaning of the play perfectly which in turn reflected in the characters and the music as well.
The two principals are beyond praise. Renato Bruson is one of the greatest baritone of our time with strong and sensitive voice. His forte is powerful but he is also capable of true pp singing and his characterization is a marvel. Maria Zampieri is literally "fire eating" in the Callas sense in her formidable role, but signs of strain are noticeable at times. Still...it's quite an experience to watch and hear her. Her eyes seem to have a life of their own.
The lesser roles..... James Morris, the great bass-baritone from the Met has good voice and sensitivity for the tragic Banquo , while Dennis O'Neill is fine in the 'one aria' tenor role, as Macduff.
Production of the Deutsche Oper is suitably sparse with aptly blood-red costumes for the principals. Background of dark blue emphasizes the red and is very effective.
All in all : a great video, well directed with excellent sound and picture quality. Go for it!
Union of Verdi and Shakespeare proves fruitful
Gerard Fagan | Dublin Ireland | 06/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Verdi's 'Macbeth' premiered in Florence's Teatro della Pergola in 1847 is the first of his operas to show his genius n full flight. even the musically less satisfying original version stands head and shoulders above the previous operas and had Verdi only lived the same lifespan as Mozart it would have gone down to posterity as his masterpiece. The deutsche Oper Berlin does justice not only to Verdi but to Shakespeare. In Florence the composer urged the singers to 'better serve the Maestro's poet@ i.e Shakespeare, an injunctioned the present cast have followed to the letter. Renato Bruson and Mara Zampieri portray a guilty couple haunted by the consequences of their actions and darken their tone accordingly.Zampieri in particular invites comparison with Shakespearean actresses in the role rather than her soprano colleagues (compliment intended) and in terms of vocal colouring far outshines the grossly overrated and (in this role) pedestrian Maria Callas. Only Shirley Verrett in the DG CD recording of the opera and Josephine Barstow on the Glyndebourne DVD comes within a roar of her in this role. Renato Bruson as her consort sings and acts magnificently. Only Capuccilli on the DG CD proves any sort of a rival. Dennis O' Neill and James Morris as Macduff and Banco prove far more than mere comprimari and make one wish their roles were more substantial. The chorus is equal to the herculean task allotted it by Verdi and the staging is solid if old fashioned. The late Giuseppe Sinopoli finds new things to say about the score. All in all, this is a 'Macbeth' worthy of both Verdi and Shakespeare."