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Verdi’s thunderous tragedy is not brilliantly served on CD, least of all in English, so this (the 62nd and last of the Peter Moores Foundation ‘Opera in English’ series) is a welcome if not wholly satisfactory addition. As you’d expect, Simon Keenlyside brings a Lieder-singer’s sensitivity to Macbeth, coarsening the voice but bringing the man’s buried good qualities through – a fine performance (the banquet scene capturing some true essence of terror) by the only singer who genuinely engages with the words in Jeremy Sams’ not-amazing translation. Latonia Moore lacks nothing in power but is somewhat opaque and not always secure until a properly pathetic sleepwalking scene. Perhaps the best thing is a really exciting orchestral performance, with Edward Gardner driving the ENO orchestra in muscular and highly convincing style. The chorus too has some good moments in the massive finales, though the witches are a bit well-spoken – I am not for a moment advocating silly voices, but this sounds a bit G&S. Both endings are included.

Robert Thicknesse Read the full review on Agora Classica


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