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REVIEW: Verdi’s Macbeth at South Hill Park

Verdi's Macbeth was at South Hill Park on Thursday, February 28

Terry Adlam

Terry Adlam

REVIEW: Verdi’s Macbeth at South Hill Park

Having never been to the opera before and not knowing my aria from my elbow, I wasn't quite sure what I was going to get out of Verdi’s operatic retelling of the Scottish play by South Hill Park’s very own Park Opera.

Well I certainly got entertained both aurally and visually. I must admit that it did take a bit of time for these untrained ears of mine to lock into the style of delivery, but once accustomed to the tones and presentational nuances, I really did enjoy my first foray into the world of opera.

Gregor Kowalski and Elizabeth Slade as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth each gave extremely powerful vocal and at time mesmerising performances. The supporting cast followed suit and when the whole ensemble of 30 plus sang together on stage, accompanied by the note perfect orchestra under the baton of Francis Griffin, it did twitch the hairs on the back of my neck.

Director Sallie Ward decision to set the opera in Elizabethan times was a nice touch and allowed for some impressive period costumes which, along with some creative lighting cues, added colour and vibrancy to an otherwise dark and tragic tale.

As I had seen Shakespeare’s Macbeth on the same Wilde Theatre stage only a few weeks ago, I was ready to compare them, but although the plot and characters are the same, the interpretations are so different in style, pace and impact, so it would be an unfair comparison. Suffice to say that as an introduction to opera, I was both enlightened and impressed.

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