Attended the first performance of San Francisco Opera’s Macbeth last night. This isn’t Shakespeare’s Macbeth, it’s Verdi’s. On opening night some of the staging was a little ragged, but the orchestra and the singing was exceptional. Thomas Hampson and Georgina Lukács were very impressive. Within an unconventional directorial approach they were committed actors and showed raw passion.
The production was raw, risky, big, wild and hypnotic. It had the audience buzzing at the intermission. I saw Donald Runnicles in deep, excited conversation with Alan Jones. This would be a challenging opera for newbies, but the strong visual design and passionate acting make it an exciting opportunity to get started with opera. Buy some tickets, they’re cheaper than you think.
In the theater, it’s called “The Scottish Play.” And unlike the opera, it’s often performed because it has one of the smallest cast requirements of any of Shakespeare’s plays. But the version of the story that made the biggest impression on me was Akira Kurosawa’s film, Throne of Blood. If you can’t catch the opera, put Throne of Blood on your Netflix list.