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Concerts & Opera

Bieito's powerful staging of Lady Macbeth in Antwerp

01.03.2015


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The libretto was written by Alexander Preis and the composer. It was first performed on 24 January 1934 at the Leningrad Maly Operny. Shostakovich dedicated the opera to his first wife, the physicist Nina Varzar. The work incorporates elements of expressionism and verismo. It tells the story of a lonely woman in 19th century Russia, who falls in love with one of her husband's workers and is driven to murder. "I feel empathy for her," the composer added. "She is surrounded by monsters."
 
Shostakovich's music is powerful and is played and interpreted brilliantly throughout the opera. The singers in the production  were all great  in particularly  the  soprano in title role for the  very first time.  A precious presence was John Tomlinson as the father-in-law. The Flanders Opera connected with the most exciting triumph of season, a beautiful and inordinately powerful account of Shostakovich's opera.The score is one of Shostakovich's resourceful and sure-footed creations, a fluid and expertly controlled combination of instrumental brilliance an accessible vocal melody. To mount this scabrous melodrama about murder and passion, the company assembled a large cast and provided it with incisive artistic leadership.
Calixto Bieito's staging with his powerful, moving imagery, catches the opera's various moods reliably, from chilling brutality to dark comedy that remind sometimes Blade Runner movie. His production made its points with telling efficiency and a minimum of mannerism. He places Katerina in a solitary cocoon in an amoral, post-apocalyptic world where mud is everywhere on the stage and dirty all white costumes as a contamination. This mud will remain on stage, on walls in the theater for many years to remember one very special show.
 
Music Director Dmitri Jurowski led a boldly outsized performance, with thrillingly vivid contributions from the Orchestra and Chorus. For musical grandeur and dramatic force, it just doesn't get much better than this. The result was a performance of rare tenderness and muscle. A triumph for all at the end. All creative team and conductor came on the front stage to thanks wearing booths to move safely in the mud that covered the stage.

Massimo Corsini

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