A “Macbeth” to Avoid

A “Macbeth” to Avoid

A-SH-Macbeth (Globe]
The blood comes from what the director did to Shakespeare

Can you imagine a production of “Macbeth” in which Macbeth gets more laughs than the drunken Porter? Such is the fiasco seen at Shakespeare’s Globe, London, in 2013 when it was decided (it would seemd to perform this great tragedy as a comedy! The results can be seen, if one could stand them, on a Kultur DVD.

Never mind that Macbeth (Joseph Millson) and his Lady Macbeth (Samantha Spiro) simply shout at each other like George and Martha in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Worse still, Millson throws away great climactic lines (such as “Being gone, I am a man again” when Banquo’s ghost exits) as humorous asides. There is not an ounce of the poetry that makes Shakespeare worth doing. I have seen many a bad production of this play by amateurs, but I never expected to see one this bad by professionals at the restored Globe. Perhaps this director will have a future staging ludicrous versions of operas, which seems to be the fashion nowadays.

the-honeymooners-pow2
Perhaps the Director had this couple in mind

The cauldron scene is done without a cauldron and no ingredients to drop into it. Just  lot of the smoke to annoy the audience sitting close by. And if Macbeth, as I said, gets more laughs than the drunken Porter, that is also because the Porter gets no laughs at all! Who allowed this production to go through?

And although the notes on the jewel case say there are subtitles in several languages, there are none.

Verdi at the Met

51TneT7ZWuL._AA160_VERDI AT THE MET

Sony Classical has gathered together in a boxed set 10 operas by Verdi that were broadcast from the Metropolitan Opera from1935 to 1967. No one is claiming that any of these are the best performances that could have been chosen, but the historical interest is great and many listeners might recall hearing these very broadcasts.

Each 2-CD opera is in its own cardboard envelope and there is a booklet giving background information and tracking numbers and timings for all of the performances. All I wish to do here is to list the operas with broadcast years and lead singers. I hope the omission of first names will cause no problems.

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Lawrence Tibbett

“La Traviata” (1935)—Ponselle, Jaegel, Tibbett; “Otello” (1940)—Martinelli, Rethberg, Tibbett; “Un Ballo in Maschera” (1940)—Milanov, Bjoerling; “Rigoletto” (1945)—Warren, Sayao, Bjoerling; “Falstaff” (1949)—Warren, Resnik, Valdengo, Albanese.

“Simon Boccanegra” (1950)—Warren, Varnay, Tucker; “La Forza del Destino” (1952), Milanov, Tucker, Warren; “Macbeth” (1959)—Warren, Rysanek, Bergonzi; “Nabucco” (1960), MacNeil, Rysanek, Siepi; “Aida” (1967)—Price, Bergonzi, Bumbry, Merrill, Hines.

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Richard Tucker

I believe many of my readers would be most interested in hearing all of these, even with the audio as it was then. I do miss all the intermission features, which I wish would be released in separate CD sets.