Our production of Verdi’s powerhouse masterpiece, Macbeth, opened on September 21 at the Kiri Te Kanawa Theatre, Auckland, before moving on to Wellington on October 5, 7, & 9. Our next stop is Christchurch for two performances only – October 20 & 22 at the Isaac Theatre Royal.
Directed by acclaimed UK director Netia Jones and conducted by Brad Cohen, Macbeth features renowned baritone Phillip Rhodes (Ngāti Awa, Ngāti Kahungunu) and South African soprano Amanda Echalaz in their international role debuts as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth along with a stellar cast of Kiwi talent – Wade Kernot, Jared Holt, Emmanuel Fonoti-Fuimaono, Morag Atchison and the New Zealand Opera Chorus.
Here is some of the feedback received:
In something of a coup for the company, (Netia Jones’) services as director, set designer and video artist result in a visual feast that is a wonderment to behold. Her brilliantly innovative staging of this dark, twisted and internecine world manages to be contemporary while remaining true to the power of both Shakespeare and to Verdi. It is a triumph.
– NZ Arts Review
In the title role, the formidable Phillip Rhodes hits the notes and inveigles us with his honey-gone-grainy vocal texture and sensuality. Many may remember his suave performance as Scarpia, the villainous police chief in the NZO production of Tosca. His role as Judge Turpin in Sweeney Todd also showed his ability to straddle hypnotically the line between sleaze and power. Macbeth needs all this in the Verdi opera; a flawed power-hungry man of demons and destructive machismo, and Rhodes delivers this vocally.
…The usually minor role of Macduff (was) illuminated here by baritone Jared Holt. The audience’s reaction to Holt’s emotive, Italianesque, fluid and chiaroscuro aria ‘Ah, la paterna mano,’beginning Act IV, evidenced in his vocal, dramatic and communication skills.
Amanda Echalaz as Lady Macbeth evinces technique in abundance, with sure-fire and full-voiced landings upon the high D-flats, minutely-stepped running, and unflagging, controlled delivery over the two-hours’ traffic of our stage. Her strength exhorting the mists of hell to arise is palpable.
Amanda Echalaz is a fabulous Lady Macbeth and expresses the ambitious obsessive hunger for power so well.
– Ambient Light
Phillip Rhodes is the perfect embodiment of Macbeth with his bearded good looks and commanding stage presence.
– Andrew Whiteside
…a very thoughtful and clever demonstration of how relevant and revealing opera can be and New Zealand Opera must be congratulated for this high-quality musical production, outstanding creative direction and design team and stunningly adventurous approach.
– Elizabeth Kerr, Five Lines