Saturday 5 May 2007

Dresden: Macbeth with Nadja Michael

Macbeth. Dresden Semperoper, March 2007. Production: Philip Himmelmann. Cast: Paolo Gavanelli (Macbeth), Nadja Michael (Lady Macbeth), Georg Zeppenfeld (Banquo), Wookyung Kim (Macduff).

The Dresden Semperoper Macbeth is directed by Philip Himmelmann, also responsible for the excellent, though controversial Don Carlo in Berlin. His rather unspecific Macbeth concept seemed to evolve around Macbeth´s role as a soldier and leader of a paramilitary group located in a concrete tunnel with built-in doors serving as entry and exit points. If there was more to the production concept than this, I didn´t get it. Compared to his innovative Don Carlo in Berlin, this seemed rather tame.

Paolo Gavanelli is a competent, though by no means exceptional Macbeth, very static on stage and presenting a rather one-dimensional take on the character.
Nadja Michael as Lady Macbeth is vastly more interesting, but also highly problematic: Starting out as a mezzo-soprano, she switched to the soprano fach a couple of years ago, and her tone is now marred by a heavy vibrato, not present 5-6 years ago in the mezzo fach, where I remember her as an excellent Brangäne with Daniel Barenboim and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in Carnegie Hall. A pity really, with this vibrato, since in almost every other way she is perfect: She looks fantastic, she´s very agile on stage and she is a great actress.

Of the supporting cast, Korean tenor Wookyung Kim as well as bass Georg Zeppenfeld were excellent as Macduff and Banquo, respectively.

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