[Met Performance] CID:275110

Metropolitan Opera House, Thu, January 12, 1984

Macbeth (62)
Giuseppe Verdi | Francesco Maria Piave/Andrea Maffei
Sherrill Milnes

Lady Macbeth
Renata Scotto

James Morris

Giuliano Ciannella

John Gilmore

Karen Bureau

Richard Vernon

James Brewer

Andrew Murphy

Peter McCallum

James Courtney

Talmage Harper

Cheryllynn Ross

Russell Christopher

Bloody Child
Mary Fercana

Crowned Child
Elyssa Lindner

Jean Anderson

James Levine

Peter Hall

John Bury

Lighting Designer
Gil Wechsler

Stuart Hopps

Stage Director
Paul Mills

Macbeth received nine performances this season.

Review 1:

Bill Zackariasen in the Daily News
A Smoother Met “Macbeth”

Most critics clobbered the Metropolitan Opera's Peter Hall-John Bury production of Verdi's "Macbeth" when it was first presented last season, and perhaps because of that, its revival Thursday night contained a few changes. One of them was musical – Macbeth's last-act death scene, "Mal per me," which was previously omitted, was reinstated. Even though Verdi himself cut this passage in his revision of the opera, it worked out well enough, especially since baritone Sherrill Milnes was in exceptionally fine vocal and dramatic shape.

Otherwise — for better or worse — the lighting is brighter, the battle scene takes place entirely on stage, and though the witches no longer fly through the air on broomsticks, their new topless queen is notably better-endowed than her predecessor. Again, however, it's strange that this basically old-fashioned mounting of "Macbeth" still scandalizes so many patrons.

Conductor James Levine was once again excitingly in his element, abetted by especially strong orchestral and choral work. Along with Milnes, bass James Morris (Banquo) and tenor Giuliano Cianella (Macduff) offered sturdy tartan-hued singing, and the ballet corps handled their sometimes ridiculous assignments with diligence.

However, the spent vocal condition of Renata Scotto as Lady Macbeth made one hope that she will consider dropping such fearsome roles from her repertory. Though she handled this assignment with some distinction last season, on this occasion her struggle just to get the notes out upstaged most attempts at a characterization. It's high time this gifted lyric soprano started re-thinking her priorities.

Review 2:

Peter G Davis in New York Magazine

Did we all overreact to the Metropolitan Opera's new production of “Macbeth” last season, or has the Met considered Peter Hall's much criticized staging and altered it for the current revival? A bit of both, probably, although management says that every revision was made with the director's blessing. In any case, the opera looks just fine now and sounds even better. Most of the small but irritating miscalculations that created so many unintentionally comic effects have been removed — Lady Macbeth's pink hair ribbon, for example, and all those chortling witches cavorting through the sky on broomsticks.

Best of all, Sherrill Milnes and Renata Scotto as the malignant Macbeths command center stage and no longer seem like bemused bystanders at a Halloween party. Scotto presents a chillingly effective portrait of a power-mad obsessive who finally cracks in the Sleepwalking Scene, which lies in the most expressively pliant and manageable area of her problematical voice. Milnes, too, fills out Macbeth's guilt-haunted character with many finely tuned nuances, both in his thoughtfully measured acting and in his graceful shaping of the vocal line. James Levine continues to find, more poetry and dramatic sinew in the score. From nearly every perspective, the Met's “Macbeth” has been improved and strengthened to make, a powerful statement of Verdi's opera – a remarkable transformation.

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