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Met Opera House: Verdi’s ‘Macbeth’


It was the closing night of Verdi’s “Macbeth” at The Metropolitan Opera House and we, the opera history class of Hofstra, could not have been more excited for the curtain to rise.

Even from the highest of balcony seats, we could see the spectacular set which resembled a depressed Bob Ross painting. Barren trees were very much the only things on stage at times, occasionally overshadowed by a bed or the remnants of a banquet.

Zeljko Lucic, Macbeth, was wonderful and displayed a mix of remorse as well as a coldness towards death not only through his acting, but his musical expression and color.

Anna Netrebko, Lady Macbeth, was the star of the show, as was anticipated. From the moment she began singing, perched on her bed, to the mad scene with her rolling around on the floor, she kept the character as well as the music resonating from the orchestra seats to the nosebleeds.

The first two acts weren’t exactly what you expect from Verdi musically. It was no “La Traviata” or “Falstaff,” but as the third and fourth acts flourished we began to hear those juicy Verdi qualities that we were, by this point in the show, thirsting for.

The minimalism of props gave a great sense of hollowness that the story needed. The chorus was very large, allowing the stage to be completely filled up when it needed to be, but completely empty during the murder scenes, giving a great parallel as well as adding some useful tension.

By the third act I was craving a tenor’s voice and Verdi anticipated this by giving the audience a warm and rich tenor aria, sung by the talented Joseph Calleja. Calleja brought any heavy eyelids wide awake with his effortless high notes and deep rooted emotional connection.

There was the use of a large oracle with faces digitized on it and projected bright green heavens in the third act. Although the Met, as of late, seems to love using special effects, I found these details very distracting. The rest of the production was hues of neutrals with an accent of red, so the green was quite glaring.

Overall though, the production was a beautiful one. It was three hours, plus the time we spent waiting for Anna Netrebko at the stage door, well spent. Seems to me, opera is far from dead.

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Review Round-up