I find the play Macbeth very thrilling, and while it is not one of my favourite Verdi operas, thanks to the compelling story, memorable scenes- specifically the banqueting and sleepwalking scenes- an extraordinarily vivid Lady Macbeth and superb music, it is one of his better operas of his early period(at least in my opinion).
Having watched the production with Bruson and Zampieri(mostly very good) and the one with Nucci and Verrett(also very good) and having listened to the brilliant recording with Milnes and Ludwig, I do consider this 1976 La Scala production my favourite Macbeth.
The orchestra play brilliantly, with a vibrant sound and attention to detail, and Claudio Abbado's conducting has plenty of flavour in it. The scenes with the witches are genuinely unsettling, and the witches themselves are appropriately creepy, any scene with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth together are done with genuine atmosphere, the banqueting scene is riveting and the sleepwalking scene is sung and played adeptly.
The singing is superb. Piero Cappuccilli not only sings with an appealing and beautiful tone, and it is also one of his more exciting performances too, but nails the character of Macbeth. Shirley Verrett is a richly-voiced and bloodthirsty Lady Macbeth, and her thrilling chemistry with Cappuccilli is one of the best assets of this Macbeth.
Veriano Luchetti is wonderful as Macduff, and he sings with great and affecting vocal expression. As for Nicolai Ghiaurov, he is one of the reasons why this is my favourite Macbeth, I don't think I have heard a more noble, more powerful and well-phrased Banco so far than Ghiaurov.
Overall, a Macbeth to treasure. 10/10 Bethany Cox
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