Giuseppe Verdi

Teatro Real Orchestra and Chorus
Conductor: Teodor Currentzis
Stage Director: Dmitri Tcherniakov

Macbeth: Dimitris Tiliakos
Lady Macbeth: Violeta Urmana
Banco: Dmitry Ulianov
Dama de Lady Macbeth: Marifé Nogales
Macduff: Stefano Secco
Malcolm: Alfredo Nigro

"Questa tragedia è una delle più grandi creazioni umane!" (Giuseppe Verdi).

This tragedy is one of mankind's greatest creations. This was the opinion of Verdi about Shakespeare's drama. Obligingly, he wrote a great opera, first in 1857, and then revised in 1865 for its premiere at Paris.

Mr. Tcherniakov was not interested either in Verdi or in Shakespeare, only in Tcherniakov. For my part, I have a lot of interest in Verdi, and also in Shakespeare, but none in Tcherniakov, so I decided to close my eyes not five minutes into the performance.

Unfortunately, Mr. Tcherniakov's staging was also affecting the music to some degree, as he has ordered a kind of box built into the stage, and the singers were projecting their voices from the inside of the box, that somewhat muffled them.

Macbeth is arguably the more dramatic baritone role ever written by Verdi. Ideally, a great actor-singer is required, able to build the sentences with the same care than a cutter works with diamonds. Dimitri Tiliakos's voice is rather uninspiring, with the top notes not always, and not fully, available, but he did color his phrasing, and try something beyond the perennial mezzoforte that many baritones use today for 'Verdian' singing.

The ambitious Lady Macbeth requires, ideally, a 'drammatico d'agilità'. And with a real temper behind. Verdi himself replaced Eugenia Tadolini by Marianna Barbieri-Nini just because Tadolini's voice was 'too beautiful'. "Vieni t'affreta', "La luce langue" and the sleepwalking scene are tremendous challenges. This is not the best role for Urmana, that was also not in a good vocal form. To make matters worse, she is missing the acting talent, so you can imagine that it was a rather disappointing performance.

Mr. Ulianov was a solid Banquo, while Mr. Secco was an unexciting Macduff.

Theodor Currentzis and the orchestra (not so much the chorus) were, deservedly, applauded by the audience. A very energetic and inspiring performance, not fully Verdi's, some nuances and shades were missing, but able to maintain the pulse of the opera from beginning to end.

Not one of by best evenings at Teatro Real, all told.