4 July 2010

Marvelous Macbeth at Glyndebourne

Macbeth at Glyndebourne pressed all the buttons that you want Glyndebourne to press and in the right sequence and with just the right strength to make it an exceptional day out.

Glyndebourne is for sharing and this time we went with some friends that we took for the first time last year.

We arrived in good time to enjoy the gardens and the atmosphere before the opera. And some champagne.

The weather was kind so we were able to picnic on the lawn, or rather on one of the several lawns. We chose a spot close to the pond next to a tall hedge as it offered protection against the slight breeze.

The long interval is a fantastic idea. Having something to eat is obviously useful but the point of the interval is to relax with friends and to enjoy the simple pleasure of being outside in beautiful surroundings.

The opera is rather important too!

The music of Verdi's Macbeth is very approachable and the plot is not bad either.

This production is quite modern and quite simple. There is not much clutter on the stage but what is there is visually striking. I loved the 60s style caravans that the three witches lived in.

I also loved that the three witches were actually more like thirty with a group of identically dressed women for each part.

This time we had gone for the cheap seats (around £65!) which meant sitting right at the top and right at the back. But even from there the stage was clearly visible and the music carried effortlessly. I'd sat in that part of the opera house before and much prefer it to equivalently priced tickets that are closer but at the side or right at the front.

Everything I have described so far was good, or better, but what really lifted the evening was the solo singing. There are several leading roles in Macbeth and there was lots of powerful and dramatic singing but whenever Lady Macbeth sang her voice seemed to fill the hall and to slow things down so that everything revolved around her words and music. Just stunning.

Glyndebourne never disappoints, is usually very good and on nights like this it is majestic.

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