back to homepage


Robert Wilson

production dates

Sao Paulo, Brazil
Teatro Municipal
23-29 November 2012

Bologna, Italy
Teatro Comunale
5-12 February 2013

Reggio Emilia, Italy
Teatro Valli
1-3 March 2013

My theater is a formal theater. For me, in theater all elements are equally important: movement, dance, gesture, costume, make-up, architecture, sculpture, design, light, words, music… all the arts come together in theater. You may call it “Gesamtkunstwerk” like Richard Wagner did or “Epic theater” like Bertolt Brecht did. “Opera” comes from the Latin word for “work”: “opus”. That’s what theater is for me.

I hate to “update” an opera: playing “Macbeth” in a supermarket to make it look more “modern” to me doesn’t make sense. I respect what the composer writes in his score. In his “Macbeth”, Giuseppe Verdi was very faithful to Shakespeare. That’s very difficult, because Shakespeare already wrote music. On one hand, you have to avoid becoming the slave of the master. On the other hand, you have to respect the master. And I think, Verdi has done that. I am trying to do the same.

“Macbeth” is like a prism: it contains many different facets. That’s what makes it interesting. It’s a very dark subject, full of violence. And it’s a tragedy. It’s very complex. Verdi’s opera is very precise. There is not a single superfluous word or note in it. It is highly concentrated. To allow its strength to come forward, you must be very careful not to tell a million things at a time. It has to be simple. You have to focus. Then, the complexity can unfold. It’s not that there is no meaning; it’s all full of meaning. There is a quote from Shakespeare’s play that strikes me – Verdi has incorporated it in his opera. It’s the moment when Macbeth is told that his wife has died. Here is his reaction:

Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.

(Robert Wilson)


music by Giuseppe Verdi
libretto by Francesco Maria Piave

conductor Abel Rocha (Sao Paulo) / Roberto Abbado (Bologna & Reggio Emilia)
direction, stage, lights Robert Wilson

co-director Nicola Panzer
costumes Jacques Reynaud
lights A.J. Weissbard
collaborator to set design Annick Lavallée-Benny
dramaturg Konrad Kuhn


Dario Solari / Angelo Veccia
Riccardo Zanellato / Carlo Cigni
Lady Macbeth
Jennifer Larmore / Anna Pirozzi 
Dama Lady Macbeth
Marianna Vinci /Elayne Caser
Roberto De Biasio / Lorenzo Decaro
Gabriele Mangione
the doctor
Alessandro Svab