Minnesota Opera: Macbeth

Adaptations of Shakespeare are always tricky. If you're overly respectful, the results can feel like an unimaginative copy. Change too much, and you might be charged with desecrating the source of inspiration. Of the few artists whose original contributions have proven worthy of the Bard, Italian composer Giuseppe Verdi remains unequaled. Before finding acclaim with Othello and Falstaff, however, Verdi attempted to recreate Macbeth. The work was first produced in 1847, but Verdi was unsatisfied with the results, revising it 16 years later. Such dogged determination suits the tale's tragic central figure, a once noble soldier whose lust for power leads to moral corruption, murder, and the collapse of a kingdom. Hewing closely to Shakespeare's original tale, Verdi develops tension through such unnerving compositions as a foreboding chorus sung by a coven of witches. If there's one major difference between Shakespeare and Verdi, it's in the figure of Lady Macbeth, whose operatic depiction can be utterly defined by blood lust. With celebrated soprano Brenda Harris taking on the fiendish part for this energetically staged Minnesota Opera production, Greer Grimsley (in the title role) has a formidable match for his bass-baritone. Conducted by Michael Christie with an impressive supporting cast under the direction of Joel Ivany, one of Shakespeare's darkest tales could well emerge as the harrowing highlight of this year's opera season. (Photo by Calabay Production)
Sat., Jan. 25, 7:30 p.m.; Tue., Jan. 28, 7:30 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 30, 7:30 p.m.; Sat., Feb. 1, 8 p.m.; Sun., Feb. 2, 2 p.m., 2014

 
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