Thursday, May 23, 2013

Nmon Ford takes on Ernest Bloch's Macbeth

Nmon Ford
When one thinks of the operatic version of Macbeth, one immediately thinks of Giuseppe Verdi. However, the  Swiss-American composer Ernest Bloch wrote a highly dramatic version in 1906, which has only been performed once in the U.S., at the Juilliard School of Music in New York in 1973.

The opera is about to double the number of U.S. performances it has received, with performances at the Long Beach Opera from June 15-23, 2013 and again at the Chicago Opera Theater from September 13-21, 2014. The Long Beach performances will feature Panamanian-American barihunk Nmon Ford in the title role and Suzan Hanson as his scheming wife Lady Macbeth. Adding to the dramatic effect will be the location of the performance, which will be in a vast industrial space at the Port of Los Angeles. The Chicago Opera Theater has not confirmed casting.

The great Inge Borkh sings Bloch's Macbeth:

Bloch’s opera reveals the influence  of Wagner's music dramas and Claude Debussy's symbolist opera "Pelleas et Melisande."  Bloch's probing and dramatic score powerfully illuminates the central couple, and deeply examines the temptation of promised power and its influence over our actions. but it did not receive its first performance until November 30, 1910 by the Opéra-Comique Paris. After the premiere production, the opera was staged in 1938 in Naples, but was then banned on orders of the Fascist government. Subsequently, the opera was produced in Rome in 1953, and in Trieste. 

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