|ROBERT WILSON / GIUSEPPE VERDI||MACBETH|
Sao Paulo, Brazil
23-29 November 2012
5-12 February 2013
Reggio Emilia, Italy
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