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Arts | By Richard Osborne

Monteverdi at 450

There were a number of retrospective glances in this year’s 70th anniversary Edinburgh Festival, not least the staging by Turin’s Teatro Regio of Verdi’s Macbeth, the same opera that the Glyndebourne company brought to the inaugural festival in 1947.  I doubt whether that 1947 production (by Carl Ebert) had a ballet of hospital beds competing for the audience’s attention in Lady Macbeth’s sleep-walking scene. On the other hand, Turin did manage to field its advertised conductor, which is more than Glyndebourne did in 1947 after George Szell walked out and his replacement, Tullio Serafin, refused to leave Italy after getting wind of socialist Britain’s punitive currency regulations. ‘Monteverdi 450’, John Eliot Gardiner’s presentation of Monteverdi’s three surviving operas, was a more serendipitous link to Edinburgh’s past, as anyone will know who saw the operas played in the King’s Theatre in 1978 in Jean-Pierre Ponnelle’s High Baroque stagings – ‘Monteverdi’s Flying Circus’...

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