Verdi: Macbeth - Sung in English (2CD)

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Simon Keenlyside, English National Opera Orchestra, Edward Gardner

Latonia Moore (Lady Macbeth), Simon Keenlyside (Macbeth), Gwyn Hughes Jones (Macduff), Brindley Sherratt (Banquo), Ben Johnson (Malcolm), Elizabeth Llewellyn (Lady in Waiting)

English National Opera Orchestra, Edward Gardner


This recording of Verdi's Macbeth marks the completion of the Peter Moores Foundation's remarkable Opera in English series, established in 1995 with the aim of making opera available to wider audiences by presenting the highest quality opera performances in English. Here a translation by Jeremy Sams is sung by an all-star cast including Simon Keenlyside as Macbeth and Latonia Moore as Lady Macbeth. Edward Gardner conducts the English National Opera Orchestra.

Macbeth is the first of three Verdi operas based on dramas by William Shakespeare. Described by Verdi as ‘one of the greatest creations of man’, Macbeth’s ‘grandeur, breadth, and sublime, rarefied, and strange atmosphere’ inspired Verdi to adapt this tale of power, corruption, and devilry. Having previously concentrated on historical narratives, in Macbeth Verdi engaged in dark supernatural themes for the first time. The subject matter provided Verdi opportunity to expand on his abilities as a tone poet; he extended the contribution of the orchestra to the drama and introduced orchestral detail and colour not before seen in his operatic scores.

In 1865, eighteen years after its triumphant premiere in Florence, Verdi was asked to revisit the score for a Paris revival. This revised version forms the basis of the present recording which also includes additions from the original score.

“[Keenlyside] presents a changing psychological portrait of the lure of power and evil in the title role. At first he sounds conflicted, uncertain. But one murder hardens him and Keenlyside’s tone expands alongside Macbeth’s resolve. No uncertainties dog Lady Macbeth in Latonia Moore’s account...The young American’s voice is thrillingly rich and commanding.” The Times