Long Beach Opera's MACBETH Begins Tonight
An overwhelming lust for power, a manipulative wife, and witches' prophecies spur a Scottish general onto a tragic path of betrayal, murder and madness. Long Beach Opera (LBO) closes its 2013 season with Macbeth, Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch's re-discovered powerhouse, sung in English. Performances at the World Cruise Center in San Pedro, CA. begin tonight, June 15, 2013 and continue on June 22 and 23.
Bringing the role of Macbeth to life will be Panamanian-American baritone, Nmon Ford, whose rich voice and handsome good looks has him in demand across the Americas, Japan, and Europe. Classique News said of his recent performance as Jochanaan in Salome, "Mr. Ford's great physique and chilling charisma made him the perfect prophet, both seductive and unattainable. Because he possesses and amazing and powerful voice, he creates a character that burns with the fire of a blinding faith."
LBO Artistic and General Director Andreas Mitisek will conduct as well as direct an original concept for the staging at the World Cruise Center in San Pedro, California, the largest cruise port on the West Coast. Mitisek comments, "The young Bloch, inspired by the likes of Wagner, Mussorgsky and Debussy, created a fiery score that heightens the bloody story and provides spectacular insight into the dark soul of Macbeth."
Premiered at the Opéra Comique in Paris in 1910, Macbeth has only recently been rediscovered in Europe and hasn't been produced in the United States since 1973.
Macbeth: Nmon Ford Lady Macbeth: Suzan Hanson
Banquo, Duncan: Doug Jones
1st Witch: Ariel Pisturino
2nd Witch: Danielle Marcelle Bond
3rd Witch: Nandani Sinha
Macduff, 1ST Murdrerer: Robin Buck
Chorus: Long Beach Camerata Singers LBO Orchestra
NMON FORD (Macbeth)
Baritone Nmon Ford was featured on the 2010 Grammy-winning recording, Transmigrations (Telarc), and the three-time 2006 Grammy-winning recording, Songs of Innocence and of Experience (Naxos). His repertoire includes leading baritone roles in Tosca, Otello, Parsifal, Salome, Lohengrin, Il trovatore, Don Giovanni, and Carmen, with appearances at the opera houses of Bologna, Hamburg, Bordeaux, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cincinnati and Detroit, as well as the appearances with the New York and Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestras and the Chicago, Pittsburgh and Atlanta Symphonies. He has also recorded for Universal/Decca, Koch and Concord.
Suzan Hanson (Lady Macbeth)
Suzan Hanson has sung many major roles with LBO, including Madeline (Fall of the House of Usher), Mrs. P (The Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat), Margarita (Ainadamar), Medea (Cherubini's Medea), Mrs. Williamson (The Difficulty of Crossing a Field), Pat Nixon (Nixon in China), both women in Sound of a Voice/Hotel of Dreams), and Brünnhilde (Siegfried, Götterdämmerung). She has premiered several works by Philip Glass (including Fall of the House of Usher and Sound of a Voice/Hotel of Dreams), Rinde Eckert, Michel Legrand, and Henry Mollicone. Appearances at other opera companies include San Francisco, Connecticut, Arizona, Pittsburgh, Verona, Tel Aviv, Madrid, Spoleto, Florence, among others. She has had leading roles at major theatrical companies including The Old Globe, the Denver Center, San Jose Rep and many others. Ms. Hanson was Sharon in the National Tour of Master Class with Faye Dunaway. Her recordings include: The Tender Land (Koch).
The show will run on Sat,. June 15 at 8:00 pm (limited availability) Sat . June 22 at 8:00 pm Sun. June 23 at 8:00 pm. Pre-opera talks one hour before each performance. All events take place at the World Cruise Center, 100 Swinford Way, San Pedro, Calif. Single tickets range in price from $39-$160 and are available online at www.longbeachopera.org/tickets or from the LBO Box Office at 562-432-5934. Group discounts can be purchased through the LBO Box Office.
ABOUT MACBETH (1904-1909)
Although he was a prolific composer, Ernest Bloch wrote only one opera, Macbeth. He began the work in 1904 at a time when he was occupied creating other pieces. Over the years, he kept returning to Macbeth, eventually finishing the opera in1909. The composer's daughter, Suzanne, wrote in Ernest Bloch: Creative Spirit, "His conception of the music was to express the inner ferments of the characters, more important to him than the actual external drama." Bloch scholar Dr. Alexander Knapp refers to Bloch's treatment of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth as "a fusion of music and psychology."
Swiss writer, playwright and essayist Edmond Fleg wrote the original libretto in French, basing the text on the original Shakespeare play.
In 1910, Bloch's Macbeth had its world premiere in Paris at the Opéra Comique at a time when Verdi's 1846 Macbeth was infrequently performed. After several performances, the opera closed amid rumors of disputes within the cast. In 1938, the first post-World War I staging of Macbeth took place at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, only to be halted by a decree by Mussolini's Fascist anti-Semitic government. At the publisher's request following the decree, Bloch extracted from the full score the two Interludes, which had served as transitions between the first and second scenes of the first act and between the first and second (final) scene of the last act. The Interludes have since been presented in concert around the world and today are better known than the opera.
After World War II, Macbeth was once again rediscovered and performed, this time in an Italian translation. Stagings took place in Rome (1953), Trieste (1957), Brussels (1958) and, following Bloch's death, at La Scala in Milan (1959). In 1975, the opera finally had its United Kingdom premiere in a concert staging using the French libretto at the Royal Festival Hall in London. During the last decade, Bloch's Macbeth has enjoyed a revival in Europe. The most recent overseas production was in 2009 by the University College London.