Music: Macbeth at the Met

Giuseppe Verdi called the opera his "best beloved child," but audiences have consistently agreed with George Bernard Shaw, who sneered that Verdi tried to turn Shakespeare's tragedy into another Trovatore. Last week, when Manhattan's Metropolitan staged Macbeth for the first time in its 76-year history, the opera kept moving from the sublime toward the ridiculous. The score contains much hauntingly beautiful music,* prefiguring the emotional insights of Otello, but it is also marred by trivia, such as a kind of witches' cancan in the first scene. The libretto (by Verdi, put into verse...

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