MACBETH – WEST AUSTRALIAN OPERA
HIS MAJESTY’S THEATRE
As I have said in previous reviews, this year I have stepped outside of my comfort zone on many occasions. Not a comfort zone in the sense of reviewing shows that I didn’t want to be at, but reviewing things that I have never witnessed in person before or know very little about. I try to take those chances to review things based on their own merits even if my instincts tell me I don’t enjoy something on the surface of it (like death metal) but I find a way to see the beauty in all the different forms of entertainment I have covered this year. It has helped me become a fan of these things. I didn’t know I’d be a fan of the Ballet and now I am excited to be at the next one! Opera was next on my list.
Macbeth was a hard one for me. I had never been to the opera before, but I had seen Jose Carreras perform in concert a couple years ago and I loved it. There is something about the power and precision in the voice of an opera vocalist that is just so impressive to me. I decided to give Macbeth a shot without knowing what I was getting myself into really. The results are that I need to learn more about opera, and I shall explain why. This will be a complete layman’s review of the WA Opera’s Macbeth.
Visually, show was remarkable. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me at the beginning of the show, the lighting was dark and brooding. You know something dastardly was about to go down with the characters in this show. Remember, this show is Verdi’s interpretation of the Shakespeare play, there was minimal dialogue and the story was told through song. They had a screen to the right hand side to help with subtitles for the vocals as it was expectedly in Italian. I was lucky it was there because I would have become more lost than I already felt.
James Clayton played Macbeth and I was most impressed with his abilities as well as facial expressions — when he was mad, sad, defiant, angry, I felt it. Antionette Halloran was Lady Macbeth and was quite clearly an absolutely stunning performer. She really was the star of the proceedings. Jud Arthur played Banquo, and I couldn’t believe how low his voice could go. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any lower, he got there. Three very, very impressive vocalists.
The only problem I had with the show was that I had a hard time following the story and knowing what was going on, even with the subtitles. I think it’s more the fault of my novice mind in this setting. It annoys me, it made me feel like I was stupid because I couldn’t keep up – even though I already knew the plot of the story beforehand. I’m still very disappointed in myself.
Set and Costume Designer Roger Kirk should be extremely happy with what he was able to create with those costumes. Really unbelievable stuff.
Props as per usual to WASO for delivering the beautiful music throughout the show. They never cease to be amazing.
In conclusion I wish I could have enjoyed this show more by being able to keep up but I just couldn’t. I will not give up though – I hope to review more shows by the WA Opera in the future because I loved the atmosphere.