“Macbeth” and “Macbetto”. -- The Staatsoper put on a very fine production of Verdi’s opera last night, with George Petean, Ferruccio Furlanetto, and Tatiana Serjan in the main parts. I had re-read Shakespeare’s play last week in preparation, and was surprised by how many liberties Verdi’s librettists had taken. Most of them were easy to appreciate: for instance, replacing the three witches with a choir, or cutting out Duncan altogether. Though by doing the latter Macbeth’s dramatic change from loyal vassal to assassin was less apparent. I was also sad to see that my favourite line – “Tis the eye of childhood that fears a painted dragon” – had been dropped. And why exactly the singers had to be dressed up in twenty-first-century army uniforms beats me. Does the director really think that we need this update in order to appreciate the timeless message of the play? -- But these are small quibbles, and I would go and hear it all over again any day.