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Cat. No. CHAN 3180(2) Price: £18 No. of discs: 2
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CHAN 3180 - Verdi: Macbeth
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Available From: 22 March 2014

Verdi: Macbeth (1865 version, with bonus tracks from 1847 version) – Latonia Moore, Simon Keenlyside, Gwyn Hughes Jones, Brindley Sherratt, Ben Johnson, Elizabeth Llewellyn, Opera in English Chorus, English National Opera Orchestra, Edward Gardner

This recording of Verdi’s Macbeth marks the completion of the Peter Moores Foundation’s remarkable Opera in English series, established in 1995 with the aim of making opera available to wider audiences by presenting the highest quality opera performances in English. Here a translation by Jeremy Sams is sung by an all-star cast including Simon Keenlyside as Macbeth and Latonia Moore as Lady Macbeth.

Macbeth is the first of three Verdi operas based on dramas by William Shakespeare. Verdi described Shakespeare’s play as ‘one of the greatest creations of man’, its ‘grandeur, breadth, and sublime, rarefied, and strange atmosphere’ inspiring him to adapt this tale of power, corruption, and devilry. Having previously concentrated on historical narratives, in Macbeth Verdi engaged in dark supernatural themes for the first time. The subject matter provided him opportunity to expand on his abilities as a tone poet; he extended the contribution of the orchestra to the drama and introduced orchestral detail and colour not before heard in his operatic scores.

In 1865, eighteen years after its triumphant premiere in Florence, Verdi was asked to revisit the score for a Paris revival. This revised version forms the basis of the present recording which, as a bonus, also includes the closing scenes from the original score.


“…This recording offers many rewards, and includes bonus tracks from the earlier score. The engineers have provided an admirably clear recording, ideally balanced.”

Richard Nicholson – ClassicalSource.com – September 2014

“… High praise must go, first, to the Opera in English Chorus. Every word sung by the Witches in Jeremy Sams’s translation is clear. The orchestra’s playing under Edward Gardner sets the perfect background for his powerful interpretation and for the superb performance by Simon Keenlyside, who gives us a Macbeth worthy of Shakespeare. Lady Macbeth is Latonia Moore, to whom the stratospheric high notes are child’s play… Baritone Brindley Sheratt is an authoritative Banquo…” ****
Michael Kennedy – The Telegraph (Seven magazine) – 15 June 2014


 "... he [Keenlyside] gives a commanding interpretation of a solider driven by a combination of ambition and conscience, rendered with firm tone. The American soprano Latonia Moore sings powerfully as Lady macbeth. Brindley Sherratt’s baleful Banquo, Gwyn Hughes Jones’s plangent Macduff and a chattering coven of witches are further positive assets. But the set’s most egregious virtue is the conducting of Edward Gardner, swaggering with Verdian virility and drawing fiery playing out of English National Opera’s orchestra..."
Rupert Christiansen - The Daily Telegraph - 25 April 2014

“…here is a very good cast, Edward Gardner draws vibrantly dramatic results from his English National Opera forces, the orchestral playing is excellent and the engineering is clear and clean. Many more will want to hear the American soprano Latonia Moore’s performance of Lady Macbeth: she is apparently unfazed by the role’s difficulties and soars through her big numbers with plenty of luxurious, slightly smokey tone … this set represents a fine culmination to Moore’s project.”

Hugo Shirley – Gramophone magazine – June 2014

               Performance ****        Recording ****

“… Simon Keenlyside explores the title role in depth, offering a huge variety of expression and fulfilling the potential of Verdi’s notes to reveal minute nuances of character and situation; his nervous usurper of the Scottish throne is an extremely powerful portrayal.  Brindley Sherratt’s noble bass helps him draw a Banquo of considerable distinction, his aria shortly before his assassination a genuine highlight of the set. The smaller roles are all well taken, and the chorus is excellent, particularly when personifying Verdi’s galumphing comic-grotesque witches… Fine work, too, from English National Opera’s orchestra, here, conducted by their masterly music director, Edward Gardner, who brings a keenly observant eye to the score and an exciting dynamism to his presentation of it.”

George Hall – BBC Music magazine – June 2014   

“This last in Chandos’s Opera in English series sponsored by Peter Moores, reveals Gardner as a world-class Verdian, whose orchestra and chorus bear comparison to the finest Italian ensembles… The star here is the Lady M of the American Latonia Moore, a soprano in a role often cornered on record by mezzos. She has few peers in this music today.”

Hugh Canning – The Sunday Times (Culture magazine) – 11 May 2014

 "...a fine account, a fitting culmination to the Opera in English series."
Mark Pullinger - International Record Review - May 2014

 "...On this recording, managing the challenging prosody of language and music quite in Jeremy Sams translation superbly, he [Keenlyside] can hardly be bettered. His singing in the death scene from the original version (CD2 Trs. 24-26) is an added bonus. Throughout, his vocal expression, variety of tone, nuance and characterisation are first class. As his Lady, American soprano, Latonia Moore could well have met Verdi’s original conception of the ideal voice. She matches Simon Keenlyside for vocal quality and characterisation. Her voice is rich in colour and can soar to the heights with apparent ease. Her tonal variety is heard to good effect when reading Macbeth’s letter (CD1, Trs.7-8) and in the sleepwalking scene (CD.2.Tr.17) where she hits the vocal stratosphere with ease and security. In the lesser roles, Brindley Sherratt is sonorous as Banquo (CD1. Trs.26-27), Gwyn Hughes Jones a strong lyric-toned Macduff (CD 2.Trs.13-14), nicely contrasted with the lighter-toned tenor of Ben Johnson as Malcolm. It is also a pleasure to hear Elizabeth Llewellyn ...The other stars are the conductor, Edward Gardner, his orchestra and the virile singing of the chorus, particularly the vitality of the witches in both act one scene one (CD1, Trs. 2-6) and when Macbeth returns to see them (CD2, Trs. 1-8). This also includes the ballet music Verdi wrote for the revival (Trs.2-4). The Chandos recording has width and depth to add to its warmth."

Robert J Farr - MusicWeb-International.com - 14 April 2014

 “… Throughout Edward Gardner conducts with such focus, drive and dramatic relish that we can only regret over again that his reign as ENO’s music director ends next year… Everything is thrown into this delicious Scotch broth. A conflicted king and a Lady Macbeth who can sleepwalk while hitting a top D-flat make this a treat…”  ****

Geoff Brown -  The Times – 4 April 2014 


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