Chorus comes into its own

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Macbeth

Grand Theatre, Leeds

Verdi might have crafted this version of Shakespeare’s tragedy with Yorkshire’s own opera company in mind.

Stripped down to its bare and bloody esentials, it allows Opera North to make the most of its two great strengths, its versatile chorus and its excellent orchestra.

It is the superbly-drilled chorus, on stage most of the time as massed ranks of witches, nobles, soldiers or long-suffering citizens, which gives the pared-down action its substance.

Tim Albery’s tight and pacy production is played out in fifty shades of grey on Johan Engels’ effective monochrome set, against which the few splashes of colour are mostly of blood. The young soloists, especially Bela Perencz in the title role, Kelly Cae Hogan as Lady Macbeth, and Jung Soo Yun as Macduff, all impress. Conductor Tobias Ringborg makes the most of Verdi’s atmospheric score in a revival which is the best thing Opera North have done for a while.

Philip Andrews