Macbethis an opera that’s unique amongst Verdi’s operas in that it’s fast, it’s furious, it’s got all the blood and thunder that you would hope for. The storytelling is incredibly immediate and there’s a reason why it was one of his personal favourites. There’s no doubt Verdi felt it captured the gore and the terror, and the sinister feel of the original Shakespeare.
James Clayton as Macbeth. Photo supplied
There’s a raw passion to Macbeththat is very, very enticing. I remember seeing it for the first time back in 1977, I think done by Opera Australia, and just loathing it. The major reason being that the operatic practices of the time – bringing the curtain down after each scene change, or having curtain calls at the end of each act – denied a proper experience of the work. Like Shakespeare, the story is told with incredible brevity and it’s this rollercoaster of terror by the time you get to the end of it. That’s certainly what we’re trying to do in Perth and then in Adelaide next year. It’s to create that short, sharp shock of something like a penny thriller.