The Good: The principals, orchestra and chorus were all up to the usual high Glyndebourne standards on what can be a difficult piece to devise a musical direction for.
The Bad: The production is a complete train wreck…
If I hadn’t seen them before I’d now be wondering what all the fuss was about with regards their reputation. Modernised productions are fine (indeed they are often more interesting as its a new interpretation of the text) but this was just lacking in a single coherent direction. Veering wildly between an attempt at political commentary and Carry On Up The Khyber the only grim fascination came from watching to see how much more wrong things could go. There were flashes of brilliance (beginning with the death of Macbeth as the Prelude played was superb) but it just didn’t work as a whole.
Why did the number of witches keep changing? Yes I understand that having clones of the witches so that there were three sets of six meant that you could allude to 666 later on, but why then have the number increase and decrease with no sense of reason? Why have someone dressed as a bad 70’s style porn-werewolf dance the ballet at the start if Act 3? It all seemed to be a mad scramble to create the next wacky idea designed to throw any sense out of the window – except that wasn’t the point as at other times they seemed to be reining in the ideas and trying to play it safe.
They could possibly salvage something from this – many new productions go through a period of difficulty when they are first performed – but it may need a major overhaul to emerge as anything that you can even begin to make sense of. Picking an overall theme to begin with would be a start; grim comedy, political satire, grande guignol would all work (and were present briefly) – Carry On Up The Khyber probably won’t.