Levine brings out the best in Macbethhttp://theoperacritic.com/tocreviews2.php?review=sc/2007/metmacbet1007.htm
"Lucic’s persona, and the Shakespeare-based libretto,caused his character to appear as a follower rather than a leader, deferring to his fiercely ambitious wife played by Maria Guleghina. So, even though she is not the title character, Lady Macbeth is the driving force and the key to the opera’s appeal. Guleghina’s acting is stilted rather than intuitive or natural, but she did convey the lust for sex and for power which is innate in Lady Macbeth. Her Act One aria and cabaletta were imprecise and unfocused. She rose to an effective level during the ensembles of the third act but then her Sleepwalking scene was a disappointment, missing the prescribed haunting quality and the sustaining of long phrases." http://nymag.com/arts/classicaldance/classical/reviews/39925/
"Hoping for a more perfect union, the Met brought in the veteran Shakespearian Adrian Noble to direct Verdi’s long-absent Macbeth and hired soprano Maria Guleghina to sing it. The result is an ungainly lady picking her way atop a path of chairs positioned like stepping-stones, trying to sing without falling off. Or dutifully rolling down the raked stage and then springing to her feet as if to ask, Was that right? The rage and desperation, they were okay? It’s hard to know whether Noble directed her this way out of frustration or vindictiveness—whether he had to find some way, however preposterous, for a wooden Guleghina to signal her character’s torment, or whether he simply wanted to keep the damn diva busy while he focused on more malleable members of the cast.
Vocally, Guleghina had an uneven opening night, starting with nervous shrilling and ending in fatigue, but she offered some golden clearings in between. When she could concentrate on singing, her great piston of a voice churned unstoppably and her sanguinary henpecking became a tragic force. But mostly she seemed lost in a production that tried so hard to be trenchant and grim that it sometimes became distractingly funny: when Guleghina fussed with her nightgown to prevent herself from spilling out; when she hoisted a goblet as big as the Davis Cup; when she waved her blood-drenched hands like a ghoul in a Halloween parade." VERDI’S “MACBETH” GRIM AND POTENT AT THE METhttp://www.classicstoday.com/Classics/ConcertReview_ASPFiles/ViewConcertReview.asp?Action=User&ID=553
"Much has been made of Verdi’s statement that he wanted Lady Macbeth to have a “stifled,” unappealing voice; he was, more likely, trying to avoid hiring a pretty-sounding singer who was a notoriously poor actress. At any rate, the enormous-voiced Maria Guleghina’s sound is certainly not “stifled,” but it is nasty – and getting nastier. She has all the notes for this killer role, but anything above the staff is genuinely ugly and she often comes in slightly south of the note. She made hash of the role’s coloratura. One can’t deny that she’s an effective presence, but she is utterly devoid of subtlety, both vocally and dramatically, and it becomes tiresome. The sound that came out of her at the close of the Sleepwalking Scene – a high D flat marked to be sung pianissimo – would have scared half of Scotland to death."Neutering 'Macbeth' http://gaycitynews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=18981345&BRD=2729&PAG=461&dept_id=592781&rfi=6
"Less consistent was the Lady Macbeth of Maria Guleghina.
This artist wields a voluptuous stage presence and an enormous and unruly voice. Her blunt interpretation alternates between a deafening full cry and a tremulous half-voice warble. Rarely was she able even to approximate the trills, scales, and other bel canto ornaments Verdi wrote.
As well, Guleghina is unable or unwilling to employ chest resonance, a serious handicap in a part that so often dips into the soprano's lowest range. The pivotal sleepwalking scene fizzled as Guleghina simply ran out of voice.
You have to give the soprano credit for throwing herself wholeheartedly into director Adrian Noble's production, even the more risible bits. I see no reason, for example, for Lady Macbeth to roll across the floor like a trained dog in between verses of her first act cabaletta, and at least a few audience members snickered at Guleghina's lead-footed flamenco during her brindisi." http://www.nysun.com/article/65134
"His consort was Maria Guleghina, the soprano born in Odessa. And, as anyone who has ever heard her knows, she is a hell-for-leather, no-tomorrow singer. She sings as though she will never be onstage again. She is saving herself for nothing. And that can be an invaluable trait in an opera singer."http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/newspid=20601088&sid=aQlrW7hOedzI&refer=muse
"I feared for Maria Guleghina when she leaned forward to dispatch the remainder of her first aria. Then I got distracted by her singing. Monday's premiere, which included a little shriek at the end of the sleepwalking scene, didn't show off the soprano at her galvanizing best. Maybe she could ask a witch if there are many more Mrs. Macbeths in her future." http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/24/arts/macbethspan.jpg
"To appreciate the performance of the longtime soprano Maria Guleghina in the role, you must remember that Verdi wanted his Lady Macbeth to be “ugly and evil,” and her voice to be “harsh, stifled and dark,” as he put it in a letter. Though often strident, Ms. Guleghina’s singing was chillingly powerful. Her sustained, full-voiced lyrical phrases may have been hard-edged, but they filled the house. And her blazing top notes sliced through the combined sound of the chorus and orchestra.
But I was bothered by her rhythmic carelessness, as she tried to get her earthy and unstable voice around Verdi’s often ornate phrases. In Lady Macbeth’s crucial sleepwalking scene, I wanted more tenderness and ethereal phrasing. Ms. Guleghina faked it.
She certainly embodied the character. In her opening scene, when Lady Macbeth receives the letter from her husband reporting the predictions of the witches, she is awakened in bed. And after her aria, that’s where Macbeth finds her. Their tussling on the mattress makes clear that part of her sway over her malleable husband comes through sex." http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/8fa877e0-8313-11dc-b042-0000779fd2ac.html
"At best the cast was splendid. At worst it was, er, interesting. The centre of attention had to be the Lady Macbeth, Maria Guleghina (who took over from the originally scheduled Andrea Gruber). In a possible flight of hyperbole, Verdi wrote that the desperate heroine should sound “rough, hoarse, gloomy and diabolical”. Guleghina apparently took the instruction too seriously at the outset. The Ukrainian soprano went wild, disfiguring the line with screams, scoops, slides and painful approximations. Still, one had to admire her guts, even when she danced a blowsy csárdás during the brindisi." http://www.newsday.com/entertainment/arts/nyetmus5430442oct26,0,4516393.story
"Alas, his Lady Macbeth was not remotely his equal. Maria Guleghina gave forth an ear-splitting array of shrieks and squeaks, sometimes breathing in the middle of words, sometimes omitting consonants altogether when the going got rougher. By and large, the sounds she emitted had only a glancing relationship to Verdi's music. The less said about her titter-inducing histrionics, the better."