Verdi: Macbeth - Sereni, Stapp, Ferrin; De Fabritiis. Roma, 1977
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Given the vocal and dramatic demands of Verdi’s Macbeth vocal beauty, to paraphrase Anna Russell, can be “a total waste of time.” In this performance, however, Mario Sereni and Olivia Stapp deliver all the requisite malevolence and vocal pyrotechnics without sacrificing the attractive nature of their instruments. This helps to lend some sympathy to otherwise unsympathetic characters. Stapp is in particularly good form as Lady Macbeth, delivering spot-on coloratura, dramatic heft capped off with a remarkable d flat at the end of the sleepwalking scene. Why this singer’s career didn’t gain more traction is beyond me. Mario Sereni brings a tortured elegance to the title role. The performance is masterfully led by Oliviero De Fabritiis. The sound is fair to good.