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The performances marked Simon Keenlyside's London debut as Macbeth following his success at the Vienna State Opera last season.
The critics have hailed his Macbeth as "One of the performances of a lifetime. His voice seems to have grown several sizes, and since he also sings extraordinarily effective pianissimi, he has the means at his disposal to create a complex character who can exult, rage, hesitate, despair, defy, all by vocal means. But since Keenlyside is also a fine actor, the figure he presents us with is of appalling pathos. And he performs the most spectacular death fall seen at Covent Garden since Boris Christoff."
(The Spectator, 4 June 2011). Find out more
Overall, the Jury was impressed by the staging of Macbeth, although some had reservations about its minimalism. Most members praised Simon Keenlyside’s acting and portrayal of the title role. A few dissenters did however feel he didn’t look cruel enough to be a believable Macbeth.
The HD experience was highly rated with one Jury member clearly stating it showed more than you could ever see from a theatre seat at a live performance. In contrast, another felt that the acting appeared overdone - as befits a stage performance. But that it did not stand the scrutiny of HD close-ups!
What the Jury liked about this production:
A 4 star production with stupendous singing. Orchestra immense! Overall however, I think the evening belongs to the conductor Antonio Pappano. His control and drive of the orchestra and singers in sustaining the thematic sense of “horror”, in line with the story, was flawless.
J’ai aimé tout le spectacle, en particulier la musique de verdi et l’interprétation par tous les acteurs.
I liked the witches, the staging and the set… plus of course the beautiful voices.
J’ai aimé les voix, en particulier les principaux et la sobriété de leur jeu. Les costumes étaient très réussi et les enfants gracieux et mignons.
PAPPANO! PAPPANO! PAPPANO!
Les chanteurs étaient superbes avec de très beaux moments dans la mise en scène, sui était tout à fait à l’hauteur de la musique de Verdi.
Superb voices. Staging efficient with unobtrusive scene changing—good in the way it evoked mood. Simon Keenlyside’s acting was excellent. Overall an outstanding production.
Une mise en scène superbe avec des passages très impressionnante.
Most of the staging is fantastic, sober and in line with the atmosphere of the story. Lady Macbeth is absolutely brilliant. Her voice is magnificent, and although her acting needs some fine tuning, she is able to express a range of emotions quite efficiently .
Tout était parfait.
Minimalistic, put the focus on Verdi’s genius. Close-ups added a dimension that would be impossible with a live performance.
What the Jury liked less:
J’ai moins aimé les décors, trop d’enfermement pour mon goût.
Some characterisations were not clear to me. Particularly where children were concerned. Not too keen on Lady Macbeth’s acting.
Macbeth un peu trop “angelique”.
I’m afraid Macbeth (Simon) was not believable as Macbeth. Ludmillya completely outshines him.
J’aurai préféré que Macbeth soit representé physiquement par un homme avec une visage moins douce. Ce qui n’enlève rien du performance de l’acteur.
Some of the acting was quite broad—as is suitable for a stage performance, but is over emotive in HD close-ups.
Singing / performance: A-
HDVD production: B+
Overall ranking: A-