Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 December 2014

Toil and trouble reign over the Scottish play

In opera, co-ordination between stage and pit and between production and performance can sometimes be a challenge – and it was a shaky start for the chorus and orchestra in Northern Ireland Opera's presentation of Macbeth in the Grand Opera House on Friday.

This continued to be an intermittent problem and highlighted several weaknesses of both cast and conception.

The fundamental distractions, however, can mostly be attributed to the director's take on Verdi's masterpiece. It seemed overly clever and cluttered with superfluous detail.

Particularly perplexing was the overtones of dictatorships juxtaposed with IRA-like and Scottish Nationalist references. The production almost became a parody of itself.

Choosing to sing in English has merit, but the prime reason for this can only be so the audience can hear the words. This was not always the result.

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