Robert J Farr
, October 2013
In this recording from the Festival itself the Greek baritone Kostas Paskalis, much under-appreciated by the recording companies, is a tower of strength. I saw him at Covent Garden as Rigoletto a couple of years earlier with a tenor called Pavarotti as the Duke. Paskalis’s dark strong-toned voice with its chilling call of La maledezione was impressive as was his acting. His vocal skills also impressed me then, and do so again here in this performance. I venture to suggest Paskalis would stand head and shoulders above any so-called Verdi baritone singing today.
Verdi famously said that for the role of Lady Macbeth he did not want a soprano with a particularly beautiful voice. British soprano Josephine Barstow, with her somewhat occluded tone could have been just the voice he had in mind. She colours and shades her singing to bring out the meaning of the words in their deepest and darkest sense. Hers is vocal characterisation, not mere vocal beauty, as it is too rarely heard. Add her considerable acting skills and she is to my mind a nearly perfect assumption of a fiendishly difficult part to bring off.
Glyndebourne was the first British opera company to perform Verdi’s Macbeth in 1937. This production and cast do justice to that pioneering venture.
No producer gimmicks such as caravans and the like mar this earlier traditional production from Glyndebourne. The stage effects, singing and orchestral playing contribute to a thrilling musical and visual performance worthy of the composer’s final version. © MusicWeb International Read complete review