Macbeth Reviews

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Macbeth, April 2016

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Karen – Ortonville

It was dark. It was rich. It was relentless. It was thoroughly enjoyable. Well done cast and crew!

 

Eleanor Meyers – Harrison Twp.

Now that’s Opera! Superb! Verdi’s music, combined with wonderful voices, created an outstanding production.

 

Dr. Shirley Faust – Troy

Fabulous!!! Beautiful music, excellent vocals, creative sets. The Opera was gripping and wonderful from beginning to end, which is not an easy feat, given the story line.

 

Douglas Duchek – Birmingham

“Macbeth” is a splendid production! Every “lead” is strong and a thrilling stage presence; having said that Ms Susanna Branchini is simply outstanding – as good as they come – “Brava” – we are so very fortunate to have her on our stage, but “Bravi” to the entire company and the production!

 

  Jim – Dearborn

Very enjoyable. Beautiful voices.

 

Carolyn – Birmingham

Wow! What big BOOMING voices! An eerie opening sequence started this performance off right. Miss Branchini’s voice blew me away. Like, for real. Seriously. Big, full, vibrant. Wow.

 

Elie Basse  – Bloomfield Twp

We’ve been going to opera for over 30 years including every series of MOT since the opening of the Opera House 20 years ago. Macbeth was by far one of the best operas we have ever heard. The music, drama and staging were fantastic. What took so long to bring it to our stage? Highly recommend it.

 

Dianne – Commerce Twp

Outstanding. Every voice was very strong and the combination of them was outstanding. It was powerful and gave every emotion that Shakespeare intended. The music and orchestra were fabulous and l loved the sets.
I have seen Macbeth countless times at Stratford and the story and Verdi’s music have made it one of my favorites of all times.

 

Dorothy – Dearborn

Surprisingly, we enjoyed the opera very much. For such a well done piece, we wondered why it isn’t done very often. The music was superb! The voices were exelellent!
We missed the 20 year anniversary video. Will it be done again?
YOU’VE GOT A WINNER!
Thanks for presenting it to us!

 

Lynn – Troy

From the dramatic opening scene which gives us insight into Lady MacBeth’s soul and character as imagined by director Bernard Uzan to the perfect voice of Susanna Branchini, and the impeccable performances of Stephen Powell and Leonardo Capalbo, accented by the awesome blend of Suzanne Acton’s chorus it was a tremendously enjoyable night at the opera. This is the first time I’ve really understood Shakespeare so clearly! Bravo to David DiChiera and the entire company!

 

Claudia J. – Grosse Pointe Farms

My husband and I thoroughly enjoyed Macbeth.
The voices, orchestra and sets were all superb.
What a jewel in the crown for Detroit.

 

Gerard – Bloomfield Hills

Susanna was superb. Considering that her role was larger and much more challenging that even that of MacBeth she should have taken the last bow.

 

Sally – Troy

Great staging; really good male voices. Thoroughly enjoyable. Well done! Please do more Verdi.

 

Julie – Attica

Magnificent! Everything about it was wonderful. We enjoyed every minute of it! Thanks to the cast and crew for such rich entertainment.

 

Opera Lover – Ohio

Wonderful production, fantastic cast. Thoroughly enjoyed it.

 

Claudia & Emma – Saline

High quality performance! So glad we have this kind of cultural event available in Detroit.

 

Arthur Rose –  Rochester Hills

Superb music and exceptional voices, including the Chorus, terrific production throughout.

 

Dr Ewa Lacka  – Troy

This opera was simply wonderful. Lady Macbeth voice was breathtaking. Scenery and the acting was superb. Despite relatively gruesome plot I think, that most of the people were uplifted artisticall following this performance. I don’t remember any other opera performed in Detroit to receive such a long applause.

 

Dan – Rochester Hills

This month the MOT brings us Verdi’s interpretation of one of Shakespeare’s greatest theatrical works, Macbeth. April of this year is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and Verdi’s work gives us an Italian operatic spin on the Master’s immortal work. Verdi captures the tension of Macbeth with a collection of arias that are polished like brilliant diamonds. Ms. Branchini sizzled as Lady Macbeth and Stephen Powell captured all the dimensions of Macbeth’s untamed, self-destructive ambition. The entire cast shined; the chorus was exceptional; the orchestration was first class; the sets worked perfectly. This work is a combination of the spirit of the greatest author of the English-speaking language and one of the greatest composers of Italian opera. What more can one ask for?

 

Keith Otis Edwards – Dearborn

The singing, as expected, was superb. La Branchini is the most powerful soprano to grace the MOT stage since Denyce Graves. Her voice is stong enough to blister paint off a barn at sixty yards.
Alas, the on-the-cheap staging was a disappointment. A projected slide show is a miserable substitute for a real stage set.
I last saw Macbeth performed by the touring company of the Noe Yawk Metropolitan Opera Company (with the disappointing Placebo Domingo singing pianissimo throughout) at the Masonic Temple in the 1980s. That staging was far more dramatic, because when Banquo’s ghost appeared in Act II, the entire cast was seated behind a huge banquet table, and Banquo (typical of a ghost) was all white — white hair, white grease paint, white shroud — and in a flash, he suddenly popped up through the tissue paper covering the table, directly in front of Macbeth. He was also covered with flour or talc, so in addition to the suddenness, a cloud of white appeared around him. As per the libretto, no one noticed, and they kept on partying, but Macbeth was, understandably, horrified.
So was the audience. The effect of the ghost suddenly appearing in the middle of the table was so startling that screams broke out in the audience. Those screams caused yet more screams. The screams came mostly from those of the distaff side, but I confess to jumping some inches off my seat, and a thousand people screaming made for the most dramatic stage moment I have ever witnessed.
Don’t get me wrong: I admire fine singing, but there’s no substitute for a great ghost scene.

 

Tom – Roseville

Excellent! The signing, acting , and music were spot on. The characters felt real. The sets were perfectly dark and the active backdrop added to the mood. This added more to the story than Shakespeare could have ever imagined. Well Done!

 

Armando Lopez – Plymouth

We’ve seen Macbeth twice, once at the Chicago Lyric and now here. This performance far outclassed the Lyric’s, in my opinion. The MOT’s performance was outstanding, great, spectacular, stupendous—featuring wonderful principles whose voices soared to the heavens and a chorus which filled the opera house with a rich and powerful resonance. It’s a shame that Macbeth is performed so sparingly. With presentations like this, the future of the MOT is firmly established and secure.

 

Jennifer – Warren

Its been too long to see/hear/feel the beauty of opera. Feeling dreamy thinking about the beauty of those voices. I’ll be back.

 

Lynn – Hartland

A bewitchingly dark and stunning production. Between Verdi’s astounding music and the Bard’s unmatched writing, performed with tremendous skill and fervor, this is a truly bravura event.

 

Carl Smith – Saline

Wonderful and thrilling principal character voices!!!! The chorus was well organized and sang beautifully with power and sensitivity when appropriate. The staging was minimal but went wonderfully with the dark story line. The images projected on the back screen enhanced the overall feeling and mood of each act and scene. Congratulations!!! WELL DONE!!!!

 

Jurgen Skoppek – Lansing

MOT succeeds again!! After the remarkably fine “The Passenger” in the Fall, now comes a rock solid production of “Macbeth.” The opera was solidly cast, with baritone Stephen Powell absolutely superb in the title role. From start to finish, his tone was pure, his characterization of the role rich, nuanced, and dramatic. Stephen Lord’s conducting was, as one would expect, excellent at conveying both the intensity of the story and the beauty of the early Verdi score. The direction was a bit stolid, but having the singers up front and center gave their voices that much more impact. As usual these days, the chorus was outstanding. The choral grand finale actually gave me goosebumps. Excellent stuff!!

 

Joan – Waterford

The singing was magnificent–particularly Lady Macbeth. However I was disappointed in the use of a slide show for most of the staging. I’m sure it is cheaper but I felt it is a loss for the complete production.

 

Mary – Birmingham

Wonderful – everything, including the sets. (It’s the 21st century, after all.) Exquisite, painterly lighting – highly memorable! Macbeth, Lady M, Macduff – WOW!

 

Dr. Al and Mrs Ederina Utecht  – Livonia

Best opera we have ever seen in a long time. This is what you call grand opera. We were enthralled completely. The adjective GREAT barely depicts what the underlying level of affect produced in one.

 

Thomas Taylor  – Ann Arbor

Verdi’s dark music well presented by a stelar cast and fine orchestra. Loved the color of the clarinet in a low register to begin the sleep-walking scene. The witches were obviously having a shriekingly good time responding to Macbeth’s darker side and bringing out his worst doubts and fears. A very special indeed – way ahead of its time with a great deal of the score through-composed rather than cut into recitative and aria structures. Had a marvelously dark evening, thanks to MOT’s peerless work. Thanks.

 

Heather and Glen – Kitchener

Our second trip across the border for MOT. We really enjoyed Bohème in the fall, but it was great to hear/see an opera this time that we didn’t know. Terrific production – appropriately eerie and unsettling. Quite the couple! We hope to be back next season.

 

Jeff Marraccini  – Troy

Outstanding performance by the cast and orchestra! Fantastic costumes! And of course, the historic and incredible setting that is The Detroit Opera House!

 

barb & sam – Sterling Hts

Superb with beautiful music and singing. Totally exceeded our expectations. Keep the hits coming.

Andrew – Northville

I don’t want to be verbose in my review, so I’ll just write this: EXCELLENT!

 

 

Alexandra Jett  – Royal Oak

I enjoyed all of the players’ voices except for the female lead. I felt that she did not have her vibrato under control and was off pitch much of the time. The sets were projected images or video on a screen at the back of the stage. This is unacceptable. Without real sets, it is not a true opera experience. I feel that they are either trying to go cheap or are simply trying to appeal to the video generation.

The chorus was great as usual, the costuming was fantastic! The male lead was superb. All of the acting was very good.

If this trend of using projected screen images instead of sets continues, sadly, we will not continue to be season ticket holders.

 

Nicola Rooney – Brighton

Even though this was the first time I had heard Macbeth, Verdi can be relied on to produce beautiful melodies and atmospheric orchestration. The minimalist scenery worked well, making scene changes much less intrusive than actual physical sets would have done. All the major singing parts delighted the audience, as was clear from the final applause.

 

Mona Badawy – Utica

Exquisite is the least to be said about it!
Thank you!

 

Steve G. – Huntington Woods

What Keith Otis Edwards said.

 

Mary K – Detroit

This was my first experience with this Verdi opera. It didn’t have the big aria or chorus that you hum going out the door, but the music was beautiful — at times pure Verdi and at other times pretty dark. And we watched some of the younger audience members — tween and teens. You had them with the screens full of blood.
(There was occasional hilarious incongruity when the action transpiring on stage was dark and evil, but the Verdi melody was downright bouncy and lilting!)
All of the voices were strong, from the two principals to important roles like Macduff. Thank you, MOT, for bringing a little-performed (or never performed in Detroit?) work to our city. We loved this production.

 

 

Paul, Transplant from San Francisco – Saginaw

Yes, the voices were great.
The pauses between sets were embarrassing and amateurish.
If you use video in the sets to save money I think you could have been more creative by including more 21st century voice and lyrics to update the opera. It simply wasn’t balanced. Please don’t let opera die, keep it relevant and innovative. This will ensure new blood is merged in with the old and create longevity to our opera house.

 

Blondi – Commerce

It was simply marvelous! I have never seen this opera at all, and now I understand why; one has to have a sopano who has both the range and the strength to hold the cast and sing the Verdi melodies ! Brava
Well staged and of the old excellent tradition of Grand Opera!

 

Harold Delaney – Allen Park

Beautifully done! As a vocal music student who is now delving in singing opera, the singers are fine examples of operatic singing and set a high standard as to how an opera singer should sound!

 

Mike Morgan – Detroit

Very enjoyable–first time hearing Macbeth live; singing was excellent although the women’s chorus (witches) was inaudible at times. The orchestra has surpassed itself.
However, why does management seat latecomers…during Lady Macbeth’s first aria? Really? Come on, Detroit, we can do better.

 

Matt – Beverly Hills

Absolutely wonderful. Superb cast top to bottom. Wonderful music : chorus and orchestra.

 

Dick de Bear – Plymouth

It was wonderful. I was not familiar with the music going in but found it to be beautiful and the voices were excellent for the Sunday performance. The staging was unusual but very effective with the possible exception of the battle scene where the movement of Birnam Wood was not as dramatic as I imagined it could be.

 

Cheryl – Livonia

1) I enjoyed Macbeth tremendously. The voices were superb – all of them, with special standouts Susanna Branchini (Lady M), Stephen Powell (Macbeth), and Leonardo Capalbo (Macduff). This was a superior musical experience.
2) I have mixed feelings about the minimalist set, with screen projections. It felt to me like I was at a choral performance of the opera with costumes and projections.
3) Branchini never did seem truly wicked or evil to me (Saturday night Apr. 23). Her voice soared; her acting was not scary or mad, and when we got the sleepwalking scene it seemed therefore out of character.
4) To the Opera House: Saturday night the 23rd, when Branchini was beginning her first aria and owning the stage, MANY people came in and were seated, with flashlights and confusion. For the future, couldn’t there be a pause while latecomers are seated, if they must be seated? Seating them during Branchini’s singing did her and the audience a disservice.
5) Last, I want to give a shoutout to Raehann Bryce-Davis, who sang at the opera club in Livonia and chatted with us afterward. It was fun having a personal connection to someone on the stage.

 

Harriet – Detroit

Thrilled and amazed by the quality of this production. Found the use of the high technology projections worked well (though I note other reviewers did not like them) and the lighting was amazing in terms of creating mood. I was surprised not to have seen (or even heard) this Verdi opera in my 50+ years of enjoying opera (even though we lived in England and in other cities and were active opera goers there as well as in Detroit). Perhaps because it is a deep and dark story line. As David DiChiera said, I wonder what a Vedi King Lear would have been like!
MOT should be proud of its opera choices and quality of all its performances this year (especially the “unknown” Passengers and underperformed Macbeth). I note that reviewers have been complimenting Susanna Branchini; I heard Jill Gardner and was extremely impressed with her as well. I’d like to give a special kudo to Suzanne Mallare Acton for her chorus direction. I believe that all the young Artists in Residence appeared in this opera and I have been enjoying them in the special presentations at the DIA and DYC as well.

 

Lena – Oakland

Macbeth was fantastic with wonderful music and singing. 2 1/2 hours just seemed to fly by because it was so enjoyablee with a great cast of characters and story as well. Flawless singing and orchestration. The sets and costumes were great too. Top notch. Jill Gardner’s Lady Macbeth on Sunday was outstanding!!!!!! After the performance we walked around the corner to Vertical and had an perfect dinner to top it all off. Great experience! Thank you.

 

Ralph Sosin – Franklin

Our first Verdi “Macbeth”; didn’t know what to expect. We found it thrilling. Great music, wonderful voices-without exception.. We loved it.

 

Frank Coppola – Macomb

Beautiful! It fulfilled Shakespeare’s creation with its darkness, richness and madness wonderfully displayed. Well done by everyone and a joy to witness.

 

 

Judith – Novi

We attended the Sunday matinee performance and it was wonderful. The ‘one-timer’ Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were perfectly matched and powerful. It was a great experience.

 

Mary Joyce – Clarkston

Short and sweet – I loved it

 

Joan – Manchester

Sunday’s performance was outstanding. The set and the orchestra helped to make this performance one of the best I’ve seen.
Burak Bilgili, Leonardo Capalbo, Michael Chioldi and Jill Gardner each brought musical excellence to their roles and deepened my enjoyment.

 

Mary Andrews  – Farmington Hills

It is not often that we get to enjoy and appreciate the genius of Shakespeare and Verdi together. What a glorious mating. The air was truly rarified for the entire performance. (Unfortunately, the background visual accent was not a positive element much of the time. It appeared that the size of the screen was too small, too short from end to end and thus it lacked the impact it was designed to impart. It might have been a better presentation had the screen been larger, or had other elements been placed on either ends thus creating a larger motif.)