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Macbeth Press Reviews 2014


‘it is Elisabeth Meister, making her Scottish Opera debut tonight as Lady Macbeth, who really shines – a voluptuous exercise in sensuality; heart-rending in her solos, playful and bawdy during the drinking scene. The steely-eyed emasculation of her husband is as compelling as in any production I have seen, and her voice is breath-taking – it could scale whole buildings then demolish them.
The whole thing is a living, breathing Goya painting, drenched in blood, mud and lust – just wonderful. Scottish Opera and The Citizens Theatre are a dream pairing, indeed. Prepare to be haunted.’
AcrosstheArts.co.uk *****


‘[Elisabeth Meister’s] glorious singing, one of four Scottish Opera debuts among a cast of just seven, with fine voices also including Thomas Faulkner’s Banquo and Anthony Flaum’s Macduff, stands out because she has the lion’s share of the set pieces in a work where Verdi was pioneering a new style of story-driven music theatre. The tension that creates between the demands of the music and those of the drama can present problems, but Hill’s modern-dress staging and Derek Clark’s conducting of an 18-piece chamber ensemble…makes light of them. ‘
The Herald ****


‘Much thought, time and effort has clearly gone into Scottish Opera’s staging of Verdi’s Macbeth…The principals are very strong indeed: Elisabeth Meister combines technical virtuosity with an emotional range displayed to full advantage in her descent into madness…David Stephenson is both convincing and compelling in his downward spiral…To this reviewer, the chamber orchestra, conducted by Derek Clark, delivered Verdi’s score with panache and brio.’
Thepublicreviews.com ****


Derek Clark conducted the excellent chamber orchestra, taking the music along at a fine pace, with plenty of attention to detail, balancing well with the singers…Taken as a whole, this was a well thought through show, with very fine singing from everyone. Elisabeth Meister was a towering Lady Macbeth, mastering her long, challenging opening aria with ease… David Stephenson clearly relished his title role and sang his final aria particularly beautifully. Thomas Faulkner was a wonderfully pure-voiced Banquo. Anthony Flaum was a strong Macduff.
The crowd at the Citizens, a particularly healthy mixture of all ages, clearly enjoyed his compelling but shortened version of this most Scottish of operas.’
Bachtrack.com ****


‘This is Verdi’s grandiose Macbeth reimagined as intimate chamber opera with a chorus reduced to three very serviceable witches and a pit whose 18 musicians punch well above their collective weight…the solid ensemble cast, from Katie Bird, Martha Jones and Sioned Gwen Davies as the weird sisters, to David Stephenson’s lonely Macbeth, Thomas Faulkner’s solid Banquo, Anthony Flaum’s impassioned Macduff and some excellent children, mute witnesses to the escalating atrocities.’
The Times ****


‘Scottish baritone David Stephenson and Elisabeth Meister are outstandingly effective. Watching Meister, here in her Scottish Opera debut, one is in no doubt as to who is in charge, chillingly powerful and in possession of a soaring, crystal clear soprano, she is particularly persuasive as Lady Macbeth. Stephenson is gritty and menacing in the title role and his descent into madness is effectively played. They are ably supported by the impressive bass baritone Thomas Faulkner (Banquo) and competent lyric tenor Anthony Flaum (Macduff).’
TV Bomb ****


‘Dressed in combats and slick suits, David Stephenson cuts a fine figure and is a strong voice as Macbeth, but he’s no mighty leader and that’s the point. There’s a desperation about him: he murders not beacause he wants to but because he is too scared not to. Elisabeth Meister’s Lady Macbeth is also a credibly uneasy presence. ..The witches (Katie Bird, Martha Jones and Sioned Gwen Davies) are an intriguing trio…They sing well, as does the rest of the cast.’
The Guardian ***


Thomas Faulkner’s Banquo is certainly steely and persuasive’
The Scotsman ***


David Stephenson’s slightly gravelly voice actually fitted the character very well. His was a damaged, vulnerable Macbeth, evoking lots of sympathy in the duet of Act 1 and, especially, in his great aria of sympathy at the start of the final scene, where he summoned up all his reserves of lyricism to remind us that this was once a good man. Elisabeth Meister, an alumna of the Royal Opera’s Young Artists’ Scheme, made a great fist of the ungrateful part of La Lady, too. She could crest the top notes of the tessitura very convincingly, and her opening aria and cabaletta were very impressive … Thomas Faulkner made for a noble, dignified Banquo, full of beauty as well as power, and his second act aria was a real highlight.’