Macbeth In Red And Black At Teatro Colón

ArgentinaArgentina Verdi, Macbeth: Soloists, Chorus and Orchestra. Conductor: Stefano Ranzani, Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. 4.10.2016. (JSJ)

Fabián Veloz (Macbeth) and Chiara Taigi (Lady Macbeth) in Teatro Colón’s Macbeth
(c) Arnaldo Colombaroli

Macbeth – Fabián Veloz
Lady Macbeth – Chiara Taigi
Banquo – Alexander Teliga
Macduff – Gustavo López Manzitti
Lady in waiting – Rocío Giordano
Malcolm – Gastón Oliveira Weckesser
Doctor – Iván Garcia
First apparition – Sebastián Sorarrain
Second apparition – Victoria Gaeta
Third apparition – Dante Lombardi
Sicario – Juan Pablo Labourdette
Servant – Mariano Fernandez Bustinza

Direction – Marcelo Lombardero
Sets and projections – Diego Siliano
Costumes – Luciana Gutman
Lighting – Horacio Efron
Chorus – Miguel Martínez

In this 400th anniversary year of Shakespeare’s death homage is being paid from far and wide – and from the Teatro Colón it is Verdi’s Macbeth.

Verdi is the undoubted master of Shakespearean opera and Macbeth was the first of his three such works and the only one not to have been performed at the Colón in recent years. That is excepting the Macbeth in the Congo, which, while performed on the Colón stage, wasn’t a Colón production but part of the broader FIBA arts festival.

Indeed, this production brought to mind that one, with Macbeth and his men appearing in military fatigues and the modernised setting – although there, of course, the similarity ended. That was of course an adaptation – and furthermore in this case rather than Africa, the setting suggested by the projections was a city in some eastern European country in the 1960s or thereabouts.

Such a transposition inevitably brings potential problems. Despite the more appropriate scenery, there was a lack of coherence between a Birnam Wood and Macbeth’s castle and apparently being in the middle of a concrete warzone and for example Banquo’s murder in a railway terminus.

We are told the dominant colours of this Macbeth are red and black – the red obviously representing blood and the black night, but there is also a lot of white. Indeed, there are a lot of contrasts and for example Lady Macbeth’s first appearance is in silhouette.

The Macbeths here are a young power couple with Lady Macbeth the very obviously power driven force of the couple and as sharp in action as in appearance. Vocally however in the cast I saw, Chiara Taigi lacked the full matching vocal power, especially in the upper register. Her most striking moments were in her final sleepwalking scene Una macchia è qui tuttora!

Opposite her Fabián Veloz – who is fast building a successful career internationally and replaced the originally announced Jorge Lagunes – once again demonstrated his ability as a Verdi baritone of power and presence.

Ukrainian bass Alexander Teliga was an acceptable Banquo but Gustavo López Manzitti was an outstanding Macduff, while the rest of the cast filled their various roles capably.

Stefano Ranzani conducting drew out the energy and drama of the music and Miguel Martínez’s chorus was on good form.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

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