by Robert Wilson and Rufus Wainwright
World-renowned director Robert Wilson has taken twenty-five sonnets and created an epic piece of musical theatre, making Shakespeare's poetic universe more modern and alive than ever.
Together with the German theatre company Berliner Ensemble and Canadian composer Rufus Wainwright, he has created a performance cleverly mixing the genres to a captivating effect, contrasting darkness and light.
On stage is a number of Shakespearean characters, from the leprechaun to the fool, from Cupid to the mysterious dark lady, and from the Queen of England to Shakespeare himself. The extraordinary German cabaret artist Georgette Dee ties the different parts of the performance together.
Shakespeare's Sonnets were staged by the Berliner Ensemble in 2009, more than four hundred years after their publication. Since the world premiere the performance has been played only a few times, and the Bergen performance will most likely be your last chance to experience it.
Robert Wilson is one of international contemporary theatre's most noteworthy representatives, working as a director, set designer, architect and designer. He has fundamentally renewed theatre and performance art since the mid-1960s. His works for the stage unconventionally integrate a wide variety of artistic media. His images are aesthetically striking and emotionally charged, and his productions have earned the acclaim of audiences and critics worldwide.
Rufus Wainwright's original compositions include a range of musical styles, turning the performance into a dreamlike journey beyond time:
"It sounds a little bit like cabaret, a little bit like opera, like Strauss and Schubert, classically German, taking a deep bow in front of Kurt Weill", Rufus Wainwright says.
Robert Wilson direction, stage and lighting concept
Rufus Wainwright music
Jacques Reynaud costume design
Ann-Christin Rommen co-direction
Jutta Ferbers dramatic advisor, text composition, Sonnet selection
Serge von Arx co-set designer
Erik Bystad Norwegian translation
Stefan Rager, Hans-Jörn Brandenburg musical direction
Krista Birkner, Claudia Graue, Georgette Dee, Anke Engelsmann, Traute Hoess, Nadine Kiesewalter, Angela Schmid, Ursula Höpfner-Tabori, Antonia Bill, Dejan Bućin, Winfried Peter Goos, Jürgen Holtz, Christopher Nell, Sabin Tambrea, Georgios Tsivanoglou actors
Stefan Rager conductor, percussion
Hans-Jörn Brandenburg keyboards
Dominic Bouffard guitar
Andreas Henze double bass
Sang Ha Hwang violin
Jeonghwa Son violin
Ji Hye Han viola
Jin Kyung Kim cello
Performed in English and German, surtitled in Norwegian.
Introduction (in Norwegian) by Gunnar Danbolt in the Grieghallen foyer Wednesday 24 May at 18:00 and Thursday 25 May at 18:45.
Please note: Limited stage view from ticket categories 4 and 5. The seating plan for Shakespeare's Sonnets differs from that of other Festival performances. Please make sure you check the seating plan carefully to ensure you get your preferred seats.