Cher Public

Crown jewel

I’m a long-time fan of the Opera in English series funded by The Peter Moores Foundation that started, fittingly enough, with conductor Reginald Goodall’s performances of Wagner’s Ring cycle recorded live from the London Coliseum and released by EMI. Cast from strength with a team of British singers that included the likes of Rita Hunter, Alberto Remedios, Norman Bailey and Derek Hammond-Stroud. Many of whom never found the kind of recognition they deserved outside of England for one reason or another and it stands alone today as a unique achievement of its era.  

Home-grown talent was often used in conjunction with what later became the English National Opera although the connection between the company and the Moores series has always been a bit tenuous. In 1995 Chandos took over the recording duties and the sonics have always been juicy and ample. In fact they were the only engineers I judge who actually captured Jane Eaglen’s voice to advantage—certainly not the group of knob-twisters over at her home label Sony.

The peerless Charles Mackerras made quite a contribution to the discography around the time he was Music Director for the ENO. He conducted a number of early releases including a strikingly elegant La Traviata with Valerie Masterson. He returned to the series in this century and added some of his famous Janacek and Mozart interpretations including a galvanic Makropulos Case with Cheryl Barker. My personal favorite is a positively glowing Eugene Onegin with Thomas Hampson in the title role and Kiri te Kanawa as an unusually impassioned Tatyana. Maybe knowing the words helped?

The discussion about whether we need to know the words is a valid one and I remember Andrew Porter in The New Yorker constantly railing at the ludicrousness of audiences watching performances in languages that they don’t comprehend. Therein opens the Pandora’s Box discussion about adaptation, translation, and transliteration. Up until World War II it was common to have opera, just like theater, performed in the vernacular of its audience.

As we’ve become more of an international society, especially in classical performing arts, it’s easier to offer works in their original language.  Since funding for the Chandos series from The Peter Moores Foundation has ended I guess it’s only fitting that its last offering was a Shakespeare play written in Elizabethan English then adapted into 19th Century Italian and re-translated back to the English of our modern era. So Macbeth it is.

The excellent liner notes by Mike Ashman remind us that being a Shakespeare fan couldn’t have been easy for Giuseppe Verdi since works of the Bard were inconstantly and inaccurately translated into Italian in his era and even then rarely performed live. Commissioned by Florence’s Teatro della Pergola, Verdi made the specific choice of Macbeth because of the many fantastical elements in its presentation knowing the Florentine audience to have recently relished a case of the spookies from both Meyerbeer’s Robert le Diable and Weber’s Die  Freschütz.

It was the greatest triumph of Verdi’s career to that point and even then the master went back to work nearly 20 years later for a Paris production and made significant revisions.  He replaced Lady Macbeth’s Act II aria “Trionfai” with “La luce langue” and added a witches’ ballet and the duet “Ora di morte” as the Act III finale. Other updates included a complete rewrite of both the chorus opening Act IV “Patria oppressa” and the opera’s final moments banishing Macbeth to an offstage death in favor of a celebratory chorale.

The original 1847 Florence version is very well represented on CD by Opera Rara and the BBC forces, also funded by the Moores Foundation, with Rita Hunter and Peter Glossop and warrants searching out. RIccardo Muti’s recording for EMI originally offered an appendix which included several of the 1847 pieces. Chandos sees fit to give us both endings, and manages to make it fit, while still giving us the opera uncut on two discs with the ballet and all the Paris additions of 1865. Bravo!

Ostensibly this recording lacks rivals since it’s the only one of its kind in English. Yet it’s of such a high quality of execution in singing and orchestral playing that it warrants being numbered among the best in the current discography. That’s preeminently because of the leadership of Conductor Edward Gardner who is the current music director of the ENO. Using the home orchestra (but a studio pickup chorus of considerable size) he revels in Verdi’s youthful tempi instead of apologizing for them by rushing past them like others do.

Taken in its context Verdi’s score was uncommonly violent for its time and, apropos the subject matter, its orchestrations decidedly creepy. Our 20th century ears tend to hear the monkey-grinder tempos dominate all else but the macabre is there. Gardner gives a gloriously tight reading of the prelude and is especially persuasive both in the scenes with the witches and in the final pages of the Banquet scene at the Act II finale where he does a double-clutch ritard on the climaxes. He’s also magnificent with the Ballet which is a rare and beautiful thing and gets every little bit of juice out of the trumpet fugue finale of the Paris version as it builds to the Ultimo. The apparition scene always goes on for far too long but that’s not his fault.

Simon Keenlyside is already well represented as Macbeth in Italian from Covent Garden on video. He’s not a Verdi baritone by birthright but does manage to parse his lyric instrument adequately to the task at hand. At this stage in the career he knows more than anyone his own limitations and strengths.  He’s excellent in pointing the English text and is wonderfully varied in dynamic which includes a prickling parlando in the “dagger” aria.

I do disagree with the very occasional use of an unattractive straight tone which I feel robs the listener’s concentration from the lyrics and him of his communication. He does do a restrained, evil chuckle during his conversation with Lady M. about murdering Banquo’s family which I enjoyed immensely. His voice is still uncommonly beautiful at times, especially factoring his age into the equation, and his hushed lead-in to the banquet scene is equal parts of malevolence and refinement.

Brindley Sherratt has been singing with both ENO and the Royal Opera for quite some time and I’m sorry that this is my first notice of him. Its a pitch-black Bass sound with perpetual legato and he’s not only excellent in his aria “Come dal ciel precipita” (here; ”Black is the night”) but he’s also got an infectious case of the oogie-boogies in the first scene on the Heath with the WItches and Macbeth. It actually made me sorry he didn’t last past Act II.

Now it’s no news to anyone reading this that we live in an imperfect world and if there’s been one ubiquitous chink in the Opera in English series armor it’s been their tenors. I don’t even really think they’re completely to blame because of the pervasive English vocal school of clear-white, nymphs and shepherds, tone.  Also singing early Verdi in English makes nearly all tenors sound like Nanki-Poo wandered in accidentally from the D’Oyly Carte.  Sadly Gwyn Hughes Jones as Macduff proves no exception. He’s perfectly adequate, mind you,  but in a role where record companies make a point of outdoing themselves with the likes of Luciano, Plácido and José, he’s reedy when we want robusto.  When’s he joined by the Malcolm of Ben Johnson in the final scene I was hoping for a little blood in the voice but they’re both gradually and gratefully overwhelmed by the chorus and I’ll leave them there.

Meanwhile estate services at Castle Macbeth are being overseen by our Lady, American soprano Latonia Moore. Let me assure you now that we’re in very capable hands…as long as you lock your door before you go to sleep. I think this may be the first time I’ve ever heard a truly beautiful voice sing this role. There have certainly been many great singers who’ve brought their gifts to this part but Ms. Moore has a caliber of tone that is among the rarest.

She doesn’t sound harsh and driven like some of the mezzos who’ve laid claim.  She’s also  wickedly luscious and even in scale and unforced and substantial below the staff. Fearlessly dispatching with ease and grace the host of vocal hurdles the composer puts before her. She flaunts an un-faked trill in the Brindisi when she gets a moment to set it up and is ferocious in the climax of “La luce langue.”

The voice is never tight or strident on the top and it’s such a pleasure to be able to relax and listen to someone “play” with this role and not have to brace yourself for the next disappointment in a performance flush with vocal compromises.

Ms. Moore proves herself perfectly capable of dominating a Verdi ensemble and if she needs to break a word on the rare occasion because of an occasionaly awkward English translation I forgive her…completely.  The Act I duet  “Fatal mi donna” (here: “Did you not hear it…?”) is particularly persuasive, with Mr. Keenlyside hushed and horrible and Ms. Moore by equal parts feminine and stern, yet always fleet in her ornaments

That femininity in her tone and throughout her performance may be the thing that makes it so unique since the majority of operatic Lady Macbeth’s have proven to be little more than steam-rollers in spanx. She caps it all with a  riveting sleepwalking scene although she admittedly does indulge in a bit of a gear shitfor the D-flat in the final phrase. Her sung English is also strikingly beautiful and another thing to savor in her portrayal.

I also have to single out the 60 members of the ad-hoc Opera in English Chorus who do a superlative job and the ladies most especially for their crisp contribution to the scenes with the Witches and their most excellent and mostly understandably diction.

Recording in the Blackheath Halls, which is apparently the oldest surviving concert venue in London, the Chandos engineers do their always superlative job of capturing the music and voices with scope and clarity. Special praise to whomever provided the stunning thunder effects on the heath that made the floor of my living room rumble.

So a very sad farewell to the Opera in English series with this it’s 62nd release but one well worth adding to your collection for the many, many, pleasures it affords.

  • tatiana

    “Steam-rollers in spanx”? Brilliant, Patrick. Bravo.
    Terrific review. Agree that Keenlyside is not a Verdian by nature but your review really makes me want to hear this one.

  • Milady DeWinter

    “I think this may be the first time I’ve ever heard a truly beautiful voice sing this role”-
    Not to be disputative, but I would say that Netrebko’s Lady qualifies as a truly beautiful voice and who also dispatched the role with aplomb, to say the least. But again, the “beauty” of any given voice is perhaps the most subjective factor in appraising a singer’s work.

    • Ilka Saro

      Vocal beauty is so much in the ear of the listener. I can think of Nilsson and Rysanek, also much admired for their Lady Ms. Although there may be opinions as to whether their voices were beautiful or not, many folks think so. What I would say is that their voices were very “distinctive”. Everything about their singing was distinctive, and distinctly their own, including what they brought to this role. I am very curious to hear Ms Moore after reading this review.

      Rita Hunter, also mentioned in this review, had a voice that I find beautiful, but her voice also had an edge that made her Lady Macbeth quite frightening.

      As for Anna Yuryevna, I fall into a minority camp that doesn’t find her voice beautiful. She’s an outstanding singer and gives an intense interpretation of Lady Macbeth, but the voice, to my ear has a hooty, foggy quality that I don’t care for. Not beautiful, but also none of the grittiness or steeliness I expect in a Lady Macbeth. Kazhdomu svoyo. I will duck now.

      • Milady DeWinter

        No need to duck. I arrived rather late to the Yuryevna Train, but became increasingly enamored post-Bolena. I think Cieca mentioned at one point that the really remarkable thing about Yury’a voce is that it’s a “one register voice” -- very apt, with no discernible break or change from top to bottom. And not really a dramatic per se, but a super spinto of sorts. I love the way the sound pours out, although yes, no one is perfect, and there are those occasional moments of fog and pitch (but never at the top), and as far as the fioriture, well, it is what it is, but she can at least maintain the outer profile of the filigree. I think her projected Aida could possibly turn out to be one of the best since that of Leontyne Price, with Moore and Radvanovsky in the running as well.

        • mjmacmtenor

          Although she never did the role, Price made some interesting recordings of the main Lady M arias in the Prima Donna album series.

      • Feldmarschallin

        Well Ludwig and Verrett both had vocal beauty as well.

        • PCally

          Verrett was my favorite in the role for a long time. Her recording (the first one with Abaddo) is VERY beautifully sung and full of menace. She’s even finer in the video of the revival Ludwig is quite good but it’s not a favorite of mine and she struggles a bit.

          • Ilka Saro

            Shirley Verrett. Now THAT’s a distinctive voice! Equal parts metal and liquid brilliance.

            • Wow. “I think this may be the first time I’ve ever heard a truly beautiful voice sing this role”- Not sure how to even respond. Oh, wait, yes I am!

              Caballe
              Sass (my favorite Lady Macbeth and I think her voice had great beauty)
              Cossotto (Love her Lady Macbeth and I find her voice beautiful)
              Gwyneth Jones

            • quoth the maven

              Caballé sang Lady Macbeth?

            • PCally

              Caballe never sang the role, both Sass and Jones definitely struggle at points.

        • PCally

          Zampieri (a singer I’m not a fan of) is also pretty great on her recording and even better on the dvd. Not a voice I usually consider beautiful but she sings the role as musically as anyone and after Callas, she has the technical demands of the role down better than anyone.

          • Feldmarschallin

            Every trill was in place with Zampieri and her dynamics were something out of this world. She could oversing the complete ensemble in the first act with that huge voice and then sing pianos like Milanov and Harteros.

            • luvtennis

              I agree. Zampieri was extraordinary in this role! And for me, she gets the nod over even Maria because she sang the role complete. Callas’ performances were heavily cut. I especially hate the cutting in the Brindisi!

              That said, I am totally looking forward to the new recording.

            • PCally

              Feldmarschallin, I unfortunately was never able to see her live. I imagine she was something special since her voice leaves the impression of being enormous. I have to admit to rarely being moved by her performances but recordings are rarely the ideal platform to judge a singer.

    • There’s a 70s Met broadcast with Milnes and Arroyo. She is in beautiful voice throughout. Interpretatively, her best moment is the reading of the letter which she does with a strikingly rich voice. The rest is very well sung and beautiful, but a bit bland (like much of her work).

      • Buster

        Does anyone know why Verret was not allowed to read the letter herself in the live recording from La Scala? I was so shocked to hear a male voice reading it over a loudspeaker, I tossed it out inmmediately. Terrible idea.

        • PCally

          Perhaps she (or Abbado, or whoever the director was) felt that her speaking voice wasn’t strong/dramatic enough to make leave an impression. I’d argue that in virtually all recordings of Macbeth (including those of Callas) where the singer struggles making the letter amount to much.

          • armerjacquino

            I’m only guessing here, but it sounds to me like a directorial attempt to do that filmic trick of having letters delivered in v/o by the character that wrote them. One of those things that seems like an exciting idea in the planning but doesn’t really work on stage.

            • Batty Masetto

              I’ve always understood it the way AJ interprets it. It never seemed to me to have anything to do with La Shirl’s talents at all — it was about letting Mr. MacB. speak for himself. I don’t think it necessarily works all that well, but it does have a certain advantage in suggesting how closely their two minds work.

            • Yeah, I always thought it was a directorial choice too.

        • Buster, when you say you “tossed it out immediately”, does that mean that you didn’t listen to the rest of the performance? In that case, you missed out one of the great renditions of “Vienni d’afretta”.

          • Buster

            Yes. I also got the Callas, and kept that one instead. Love the crazy ovations after her sleepwalking scene! My favorite Verrett Verdi disc is the Stein Don Carlo -- amazing!

            • PCally

              You should give Verrett another listen. She’s incredible in the role.

            • Buster

              Will watch the video, thanks!

      • The_Kid

        For a delightfully evocative reading of the letter, try Pauline Tinsley:

        Somewhat rushed, but a new take on the reading; it is as if Lady M. is eager to finish reading the letter so that she can get on with her murderous plans: Elisabeth Hoengen with Bohm.

  • messa di voce

    And what’s happened to Moore’s career? Opera Base lists Aida in Zurich this month, and then nothing until Butterfly in San Diego, 4/16.

    • la vociaccia

      Nothing; just Operabase being unreliable. She has an entire run of Don Carlos at Opera Australia in July directly following the Zurich Aida.

    • Regina delle fate

      I wish we could have had her Amelia in the RO’s recent Ballo. it was the Russian LM, big-voiced but boring, although I wouldn’t wish that production on anyone. Ditto the Leonoras announced for next season’s new Trovatore here both have much smaller voices than the US LM.

      • manou

        How nice to see you back Your Maj. Yes -- the Ballo was a dreadful production with no redeeming features (except perhaps Hvorostovsky’s “Eri tu”).

        Did you manage to see Rebeka or Yoncheva in the CG Traviata? Or Netrebko’s Mimi?

  • Batty Masetto

    A delightful review, as always, but I will attempt to beat Manou to the punch by wondering how badly a transmission has to be terrorized to make a “gear shit.”

    • manou

      Manou is in Glyndebourne (avert your eyes NPW and armer). More later…

      • Oh, some of my best friends go to Glyndebourne. But it isn’t for me.

      • phoenix

        Où est manou avec sa critique de Poliuto?

  • Krunoslav

    Printer: run a random paragraphs from Rupert about importing Horrid American singers.

    “Chandos have deprived our Own Judith Howarth of displaying the alternate tuning she manifests as a MAMMA MIA understudy in Bongiovanni’s recent GUILLAUME TELL DVD.”

  • gironabalie

    Patrick,

    “The discussion about whether we need to know the words is a valid one and I remember Andrew Porter in The New Yorker constantly railing at the ludicrousness of audiences watching performances in languages that they don’t comprehend”

    When the libretti were originally set the composer will have paid careful attention to the harmony of particular words, sounds and notes. All of this is destroyed in translation. (And in some operas all it does is reveal or exaggerate the sheer melodramatic corniness of the original lines)

    • Buster

      In addition to what gironabalie points out, sung operatic English is hard to catch. At the ENO they even have subtitles. I remember a Barber of Seville there which was unintelligible from start tot finish. The only ENO performance I really enjoyed, also recorded for the Chandos series, was the Yvonne Kenny Rosenkavalier, but the words sat clumsily on the music for that too. Extra nasty, because the librettist and the composer worked together on this opera so closely.

      • armerjacquino

        I think the reason that ENO have titles is not so much that operatic English is hard to hear, more that the Coliseum has a truly dreadful acoustic. There are some seats where it’s hard to tell if anyone’s singing at all, let alone what language it might be.

        • Buster

          Yes, and no space for your legs anywhere.

  • phillyoperalover

    May I remind people what Verdi wanted. Verdi wanted his Lady Macbeth to be “ugly and evil,” and her voice to be “harsh, stifled and dark,” as he put it in a letter.

    • Feldmarschallin

      Well my favorite Lady’s are Callas, Zampieri and Verrett.

    • PCally

      I don’t think that letter should be the be all and end all when determining the requirements of the role. There’s a lot to be said for singers who can sing the role beautifully and musically.

      • Milady DeWinter

        I agree that Verdi’s letter about Lady Macbeth’s vocal quality is given way too much weight as a literal description of Lady Macbeth’s voice; what he wanted was no doubt a singer who could convey those demonic qualities. Ain’t easy being literally “stifled and harsh” on a top D-flat fil di voce, or filling out the fioriture of the 1847 version of “La luce langue”, as did Mariana Barbieri, the first Lady Macbeth, a dramatic coloratura, a noted Bolena and Semiramide, and also the first Lucrezia in Due Foscari.

        • quoth the maven

          Porter argued that Verdi’s cavil in that letter about Tadolini’s “beautiful” voice may have been his politic way out of nixing a singer he simply didn’t want to use. He also argued that the letter has served as an excuse for a lot of lousy singing.

          • manou

            I think there is also a translation problem in that “una voce brutta” can mean “an ugly voice”. but also (and more likely) “an evil, wicked or malicious voice”.

            Another anitra?

      • Also, I’ve heard that Verdi had another agenda when he wrote those words about Lady M. Wasn’t there a particular soprano whom he didn’t want cast in the part and he wrote those words to discourage her or something like that?

  • pasavant

    I have always wanted to hear The Mikado in the original Japanese.

  • Not sure if Caballe ever performed Macbeth on stage but she recorded all of the major arias.

  • phillyoperalover

    Would love to see Alex Penda do the full role!

    • laddie

      Me too!

  • meowiaclawas

    This is odd. I thought Latonia Moore’s repetoire consisted of Aida only?

    • armerjacquino

      Well, if you did think that then it was willfully ignorant of you.

      Happy to help!

      • meowiaclawas

        With a vile attitude like yours, I guarantee you I’m not the only one who is more than happy to go without your “help”.

        No wonder people can’t stand you on here…

        • phoenix

          Quite the contrary meowiaclawas -- he is a favorite of mine.

        • Krunoslav

          How would anyone gauge what ‘people’ here think about other posters, except in certain extreme cases involving outright offensiveness? armer has his bugbears and tics-- we all do, EVEN I!--but contributes much of value to PB.

        • armerjacquino

          Thanks phoenix, thanks kruno.

          Apologies meowiaclawas, I probably oversnarked a little. I just thought your gag was needlessly reductive of a fine singer. ‘vile attitude’ is pushing it a bit, mind. I’ll ignore the last sentence because I left school in 1991.

  • Also, Aprile recorded the sleepwalking scene and she has a gorgeous voice.

    • vilbastarda

      Wow, very interesting take for Caballe. I think it is the first time I don’t find her voice beautiful. But give it to Verdi, he knew exactly what he wanted, and wrote it in such way that the singer has no choice but to be incisive and “bitchy”. In that respect I think Caballe surpassed her own limitations here, and gave a completely moving and effective read. But it is interesting that her voice, warm and colorful in most everything else, is acidic and monochromatic here, at least to my ears. I find her middle voice very weak in this, but what impresses me is that she is able, against her habit, to bring the text out. The coloratura also seems to pose some challenges, she wants to sing it the way she does belcanto, but is a bit confused by the incisiveness of the role. Must’ve been a very interesting challenge for her to sing this. She is convincing though, and I would listen, and probably enjoy the whole role sung by her.

  • I would also make a case for Josephine Barstow. I know she isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but I love her voice and I saw her at the LOC in the 80s in a stunning performance of Macbeth.

    • armerjacquino

      I agree that the idea of no ‘truly beautiful’ voice essaying Lady M is a bit of an eye-opener, although of course if that’s Patrick Mack’s experience he has every right to say so. But we’re really stretching if we say that he’s wrong because of Barstow. She may have had many fine qualities but not even her greatest fan could accuse her of having a ‘truly beautiful’ voice.

      • Uh, didn’t I just do that?

        • armerjacquino

          Takes all sorts!

  • PCally

    I think people are reading into “I think this may be the first time I’ve ever heard a truly beautiful voice sing this role.” to mean that Moore is the only person who sings the role well, which isn’t what I think the reviewer was saying. Most of the woman mentioned in the comments, regardless of how beautiful there voices are/were, do sacrifice tonal beauty for dramatic expression. Several of them also definitely struggle with certain parts of the role as well. I think that what was being implied was that, in addition to a beautiful voice, Moore also avoids making ugly sounds and is musical at all times.

  • I think Rita Hunter had a very beautiful voice:

  • phoenix

    -- The kaleidoscopic Barstow had an innate 6th (or 7th?) sense of camp that always kicked in somewhere along the line & made her interesting to me, whether on audio alone or with video -- she had a way of shuttling from the grimiest details to the grandest elegancies, sometimes in a single phrase.
    -- Rita Hunter (sorry to go against the tide of her fans) reminded me of a squally hausfrau -- I found her monochromatic tone, mechanical delivery and repetitive technique (both acting & singing) rather boring. She didn’t belong in my library with La Barstow. But remember, this is my subjective personal opinion about having had to put up with her in the house -- I know very well that Hunter was an excellent singer, available at a time when such technical skill & reliability as she provided was sorely needed.

  • Krunoslav

    I enjoy Barstow’s Lady M on video, but to me tonally she always sounds like a duck.

    Here though is another beautiful-voiced Lady Macbeth:

    • armerjacquino

      I could listen to Arroyo all day. Although she’s also responsible for one of my favourite ever criticisms of a singer- that in the big scene with the PG in Gardelli’s FORZA, she ‘sails through it without touching the sides’.

      • Patrick Mack

        Amerjacquino that’s so brilliant I wish I’d written it (…and I may).

        Just thought I’d pop in and clarify the ‘truly beautiful voice’ remark. Kiri te Kanawa had a truly beautiful voice, so did Pilar Lorengar, Barbara Hendricks, Gundula Janowitz, Jessye Norman, the Prices: Margaret and Teeny.

        I’m really talking about the kind of voice that just doesn’t have any hard edges. Ms. Moore definitely possesses a voice of that caliber. Just a round warm sound all the way through.

        Most opera singers have large complicated timbres which is why we love them and find so much to enjoy in their singing. While Callas, Verrett, Rysanek, Zampieri, Cossotto, Hunter, Barstow and Nilsson all had extraordinary voices and were magnificent singers the instruments themselves weren’t merely beautiful even though they could certainly do beautiful things with them. Caballè it depends on the vintage frankly for me.

        I especially love Zampieri and Nilsson in this opera but listen to either of them sing the sleepwalking scene and then put on Teeny from Prima Donna volume 2 and it’s a whole different experience. It may not be ‘correct’. It may even be ‘wrong’. But damn it’s beautiful.

        Those are my thoughts and I’ve enjoyed all the back and forth a lot.

  • antikitschychick

    Nice review by P. Mack and thanks to Sanford and Poison Ivy for sharing those clips. I had never heard the aria Trionfai from the earlier version of Macbeth, nor do I recall hearing Aprile Millo’s recording of the sleepwalking scene and I very much enjoyed hearing both.

    Rita Hunter does indeed have a lovely voice, very reminiscent of Radvanovsky to my ears, especially the bell-like top. Though she doesn’t sing with as much dynamic variation as we’ve heard from other singers, Millo’s rendition is still very good; her legato is great and she really builds every phrase. I also really loved the slower tempi used to end the aria after the d flat… the strings sounded appropriately eerie.

    As far as beautiful voices singing this role…

    ANs rendition might be better described as glamorous, and appropriately menacing. I’ve not her heard live yet but the quality of her voice evidently comes through on recordings.

    As others have pointed out, the role of Lady M is not really about beautiful singing; sure, if a singer has a beautiful voice it might come through at times, and it might be attention-grabbing as seems to be the case with this rendition, and many of us do like to hear lyricism in the sleepwalking scene but the other arias are meant to highlight different vocal characteristics that embody the very extreme emotions Lady M feels ( i.e. anger, frustration, anxiety, lust etc.). I’d be interested to hear the opera sung in English though and I’d certainly be interested in hearing more of La More :-).

  • Milady DeWinter

    Yes, stimulating feedback about Mr. Mack’s comment about “the beautiful voice” (thank you Zampieri and Barstow champions!); I agree that Mr. Mack was no doubt responding to Moore’s sort of sunny, fresh, open (in a good way) timbre, and that she can flex and color it so aptly for the demands of the role. Also loved the armer’s Arroyo comment! I truly appreciate her now (more than when she was active) from old broadcasts and YouTube; what a splendid sound and reliable top. Her Lady M is wonderfully sung, very serious and sturdy, displaying her trademark easy access to the top and plush sound; but like the lady herself, the voice was incapable of any morbid neurosis or murderous proclivities -- she ‘s just too damned nice.

  • The_Kid

    I just noticed that three major Lady arias sung by Elisabeth Hoengen, the first Lady Macbeth who recorded the entire opera (in German, somewhat weirdly cut) under Bohm, is now on YT. Definitely not a ‘beautiful voice’, nor sung in Italianate style, but what a powerhouse of excitement!