Wow! - I can't believe it is the final opera this season - opera number 7 with Opera Vlaanderen. It has been a very intense year with some very challenging pieces of music, to learn and perform in very limited time. I am so glad that we are finishing the season with this opera. Verdi's Macbeth is a true masterpiece; and also super fun to perform in. This is a high energy production with lots of movements and physicality. I really feel like I am getting a work out during the witches scenes. During rehearsals, my Fitbit detected that I was doing some kind of "sporting activity". I found that quite amusing because I was just doing my job. In the photo above, I am the witch on the far left, with what looks like a rainbow over my head, the slow exposure really captures the movement of waving these paper streamers (or the Flemish word: Slingers) in the air. I think this shot really shows well the energy that we put into this scene in the 3rd act.
We are only performing Macbeth in Antwerp this time. It will return again later in the year, during next season, for performances in Gent and Luxembourg. Let's hope they don't run out of the fake blood before then! We use so much of it in this production.
Shakespeare's Macbeth is certainly the most demonic of Giuseppe Verdi's works. The focus is on the transient nature of power. We witness how a chain of violence, terror and paranoia is unleashed, fatally and destructively pitting Macbeth, Lady Macbeth and the witches against one another. Following the productions La Forza del Destino and Otello, the German director Michael Thalheimer is thus creating his own Verdi trilogy at Opera Vlaanderen.
After a prophecy, Macbeth falls prey to an unprecedented ambition and thirst for power, encouraged and orchestrated by his wife. But with the power also grows the guilt and this growing awareness leads to insanity. In the context of the 19th-century Italian opera, Macbeth was risky business. Not only did Verdi work from a harrowing play that was little-known in Italy; he also dispensed with the obligatory love story. Especially innovative was his focus on the disturbed minds of both protagonists, whereby drama and music are inseparably bound up with one another.
With the Italian conductor Paolo Carignani – certainly one of the leading maestros in the Italian opera repertoire working today – the musical direction of Macbeth is in the safest of hands.
Length: 3 hours, incl. one intermission Italian with Dutch surtitles
Photos: Annemie Augustijns
Jennifer Coleman - is a classical / opera singer, and vocal coach, performing across the UK and internationally.