, November 2013
I had reasonably high expectations when I put this on, because of the standards one normally associates with the Glyndebourne Festival. Those expectations were not only met but in most ways surpassed by a gripping and terrifically sung performance.
Based on her performance here, at the age of 31, I would have pegged Barstow for a level of major international stardom in the dramatic soprano repertoire that she never quite achieved. This realization of one of Verdi’s most difficult and taxing roles is as good as it gets. She manages the coloratura with no sense of laboring, her top notes are free and wide open, and the quality of the voice perfectly conveys the hardness of the character without ever turning unpleasant on the ear. Her face is extremely expressive and her overall acting is very convincing.
Kostas Paskalis is a tremendous Macbeth. Paskalis, particularly in the banquet scene, is utterly convincing. The voice is firm, terrifically focused, and…is capable of the full range of dynamics from a ringing, full-throated fortissimo to a whisper.
The young James Morris is a huge plus as Banquo, and the remainder of the cast is excellent. The production is traditional and effective, with sumptuous and convincing costumes. The camera direction is by Dave Heather and is very effective. Heather trusts the music and the artists, doesn’t jump around too often and in fact frequently holds on a shot for a long time, so that the viewer can become absorbed in the action.
This may well be the finest video of Macbeth available. It is hard to imagine a Verdi lover who will not be pleased by this Glyndebourne performance. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review