In what might be termed Russo-Shakespearean noir, a ruthless woman's adulterous affair with a drifter sets in motion a chain-reaction of murder and deception in a remote village in 19th Century Mtsensk.
It's 1969 at a strict English girls' school where charismatic Abbie and intense and troubled Lydia are best friends. After a tragedy occurs at the school, a mysterious fainting epidemic breaks out threatening the stability of all involved.
A Palestinian assassin is targeting prominent Israelis. An English actress is recruited by the Israelis to infiltrate the assassin's terrorist cell. This will require all of her acting talents and put her at considerable risk.
Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk is a very powerful opera and while it is not one of my ultimate favourites it is one of the greats when it comes to 20th century opera. This production is incredibly effective, almost on par with the 1969 film and I think superior with Petr Weigl's version. The only let-downs for me were while it is great music the interpolation of the 6th symphony between Acts 3 and 4 I didn't feel was needed and the Shabby Peasant's staging come across as aimless. However, the decadence of the production matches the story and music perfectly, and the staging on the whole is blackly humorous and moving. The orchestral playing is evocative and powerful, the chorus sing with a splendid sound and perform with real commitment and the conducting while measured in tempo doesn't fall into the trap of plodding. The performances are great. Nadine Secunde is the embodiment of Katerina, her longing and torment are superbly conveyed, her final frozen paralysis expression is guaranteed to haunt the mind. Christopher Ventris oozes sex appeal, the character's betrayal of Katerina is mind-numbing, and he sings with a big and unstrained tone. Anatoli Kotcherga is a very resonantly sung and strongly acted Boris. In conclusion, a really excellent production. 9/10 Bethany Cox
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