Verdi’s Lady Macbeth and a very real bloodshed

26 Mar

It is a terrible cliché that art imitates life and that
sometimes life takes its cues from art.

Yesterday as I was leaving the Gallery early and had booked
some tickets to see Verdi’s Macbeth in Edinburgh in a couple of months, I
dutifully found the 1952 live recording from La Scala on my iPod, as my
commuting music.

While the opening horns of the overture started their
triumphant and sinister lament it was by now 17.15 and unbeknown to me a group
of ten youths was about to stab another at the railway station I was heading
to. Lady Macbeth’s reading of the letter was echoing in my ears with Maria
Callas’ impeccable delivery. Giving every word a unique beautiful and at the
same time “ugly” reading. It’s what Verdi wanted; he craved for a sinister
almost ugly voice for the part. Callas’ pronounced low chest register echoes
across the echo filled auditorium in Milan.
Her blood thirst and determination is there at all times. Almost an analogy for
what was unfolding at the ticket hall at Victoria Station that afternoon. Anger
and bitterness overcame humanity and mindless revenge took over.

As I reached the station, I was sinking more in the sonic
world of Macbeth and had no idea what was happening under my feet at the same
time. The rain was coming and the lights of the ambulance and the police car
outside gave me a feeling of unease.
It was only later that the penny dropped,
while I was walking out of my overground station (half an hour later) that I
overheard a station attendant’s radio screech out that Victoria Underground
station had been declared a crime scene.

How strange life can be sometimes, a stage murder 58 years
earlier became reality in the middle of the deluge of people rushing about in
rainy London.

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