iuseppe Verdi‘s Macbeth opened at the Canadian Opera Company (COC) on April 28th, 2023. The opera, based on Shakespeare‘s play, stars Quinn Kelsey (Macbeth), Alexandrina Pendatchanska (Lady Macbeth), Önay Köse (Banquo), Matthew Cairns (Macduff), and Adam Luther (Malcolm.)
The opera is conducted by Speranza Scappucci, directed by Sir David McVicar, and is a co-production with the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
The stage, while simple, works well. We start out with the witches in what a church. The setting works especially as Macbeth and Banquo arrive seeking shelter. The staging is worked around by adding or removing a wall and celling beams, plus moving aroung furniture, to be the entrance to Macbeth’s castle, a chapel in Macbeth’s castle, Macbeth’s dining room, an street near Burnam Woods, etc. The staging allows the singers to take the lead in the performance, which is important especially with the amazing cast.
Mr. Kelsey owns the role of Macbeth. We see Macbeth going from being doubtful that he will become King of Scotland to being a tryrant who is convinced that no one will be able to bring him down until it is too late.
Ms. Pendatchanska was a wonderful Lady Macbeth. Early on she keeps doubting whether or not they should kill either King Duncan or Banquo before making up her mind that they have no other options. Her voice soars over the music with ease.
Despite their roles being major, I was still left wanting to hear more of both Mr. Kelsey and Ms. Pendatchanska. I hope they will both be returning to the COC on a regular basis in the future!
The rest of the cast was wonderful overall as well.
Ms. Scappucci, leading the COC Orchestra, was enthusiastic and moving. She kept up a tempi that was right for each scene – niether too fast nor too slow. The music flowed out of the pit and never dominated any scene, despite how easy it could have at times. The music blended in and supported the singers perfectly. I hope that Ms. Scappucci returns to the COC more often.
The production runs until May 20th, 2023 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Run, don’t walk, to see it. You will not be disappointed.