By the time Shakespeare came to write Macbeth - almost certainly in 1605/1606 - he had already completed three of the great tragedies with which modern audiences are so familiar: Hamlet (1601), Othello (1603), and King Lear (1605). Each of those plays gives us an eponymous hero who is in some significant way flawed, but for whom we also inevitably feel deep sympathy, whatever his errors or crimes. But in MacBeth, Shakespeare has chosen for his tragic hero a man guilty of the most terrible crime imaginable to a Jacobean audience, that of regicide - the murder of a king.
Part of the writer's triumph is to succeed in making Macbeth, whose crime we must detest, a man in whom we must also see something of our own darker side, our own potential for evil, so that Malcolm's final judgment on him as a mere "butcher" seems wholly inadequate, the verdict of someone who does not share the audience's insight into Macbeth's anguished inner world.
Now sit back and enjoy this lively performance, featuring the voices of award-winning actors Stephen Dillane (Macbeth) and Fiona Shaw (Lady Macbeth), accompanied by a full cast.
Public Domain (P)1998 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.; ©1998 NAXOS AudioBooks Ltd.
A most worthwhile rendition of Macbeth. The voices are expressive and clear, without milking the emotions. The narrative flows well. The technical quality is good, with the very occasional exception of some bit players, where the voices are muted, for example that of the third witch. All in all, a rollicking tale of gore and guts to gladden the hearts of Quentin Taratino fans.
The dynamics of the sound in this recording are dismal. The performance of Lady MacBeth is superb! The performance of MacBeth himself is extremely uneven, to say it as politely as possible.
If this title becomes available in the enhanced format, it will probably dispel the concerns many have expressed about the sound quality. I've listened to this on the original CDs and as an Audible format 4 download, and the difference in clarity is an eye-opener. The third witch, as several people have commented, is inaudible in the download; it has something to do with the conversion of a complex stereo design to mono. In stereo, all witches are clearly audible and the background noises and music are clearly separated from the voices.
It's a particular shame with this title, because Fiona Shaw's vision of Macbeth (she directed it, as well as playing Lady Macbeth) is haunting, almost hallucinatory. It is by far one of the most ambitious and brilliantly-realized audiobooks of a Shakespeare play available. If it does become available as an enhanced-format download, I would urge anyone who tried it before, and rejected it, to give it another try.
Too many bells and whistles. The quality of ambience should not be so strained. The relentless thematic use of water noise - dripping, decanting, gurgling, splashing, washing, raining - threatened to drown the very strut and fret of this finest of plays.
mostly ya fiction... mostly...
You can bearly hear one of the witches, and they don't sound like witches enough to suit me. The preference of the witches' dramatization may be nit-picky, but the complaint about not being able to hear one of them is serious. And that's kind of a problem for me, since they're one of my favorite parts of the story.
I was looking forward to a good rendition of Macbeth to listen to in my car, but this one leaves you confused at best. Acts and scenes are not announced, so you don't really know what is going on; difficult to figure out which character is which - if you pile on the Shakespearean era English and occasional poor sonics, it makes for a dissatisfying experience.
Save your money.
this version seems so wooden compared to other versions i have or have seen. while it has the merits of the players enunciating clearly and so dialogue is reasonably easy to follow, I found the acting to be very uninspired and Macbeth has so many great lines and speeches but actor in Mac's role seemed at times to be reading from a page in front of him as if he was seeing it for first time. Macbeth is perhaps my favorite play and I have seen or listened to some interesting performances, but this was disappointing to me.
The classic tale is dissapointing only in the area of sound quality. Of the witches, the first scene and later, you can only hear one of them well, the second ok, and the third not at all. Other Sound quality issues are also annoying.
I chose this version because I thought it would be just a reading no a performance since it was not marked that way. One of the witches was completely obscured by what sounded like they recorded it in a parking garage. background noises are distracting more so then helpfully in an audio presentation.
I enjoyed this version of Macbeth. I saw the play a couple of years ago, and I generally thought that this audio version was more effective than that live version. Voices are very expressive, allowing the listener to capture the subtext easily. My biggest complaint is that the sound quality of the Weird Sisters was horrid. Unlike a prior reviewer, I found it incredibly distracting, as the Witches are essential to the development of the play's major themes. It almost put me off from listening to the rest of the play from the first moments of the play. Their famous "fair is foul, and foul is fair" was nearly unintelligible.
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