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In 2014 the blogosphere was awash with fevered reports of Anna Netrebko’s Lady Macbeth at the Met. Now a DVD means the rest of us can see whether we agree with such ecstatic outpourings. Netrebko’s voice is voluminous and has a good cutting edge. She is vocally flamboyant and, as is often the case, occasionally sharp in the middle voice, throwing the odd phrase completely off pitch. With her Veronica Lake mane and voluptuous figure, she looks stunning. She emotes a lot, though in rather a general Disney ‘wicked stepmother’ fashion, so why anyone trusts her in the first place is baffling: you wouldn’t let her near your throne, your children, or indeed your 101 Dalmatians unless you wanted a fur coat. When she does stand still, as for ‘La luce langue’, she exudes a far more menacing cruelty than when she is stalking the stage. I doubt Netrebko will return often to the role but if she does she has all the makings of a great Lady; at the moment it’s a bit generic both vocally and dramatically. Željko Lučić’s Macbeth is bullied senseless by her and doesn’t have far to descend emotionally, he starts out pretty low, but his baritone is rich and true. René Pape is a luxuriously dependable Banquo and Joseph Calleja a plangent Macduff. Fabio Luisi drives a hard but disciplined reading, and the chorus is particularly strong. Adrian Noble’s production is visually simple, gloomy and vaguely modern – wherever it is, be glad you’re not there – but it has pace and showcases its stars well.

Francis Muzzu Read the full review on Agora Classica

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