Vancouver Opera and PuSh International Performing Arts Festival are excited to announce they will together present the Canadian premiere of a stunning take on Verdi’s Macbeth by one of South Africa’s most exciting producing companies.

Macbeth will open the 2017 PuSh Festival on January 16, 2017 for five performances at the Vancouver Playhouse and will be an offering for both PuSh Festival patrons and Vancouver Opera season subscribers and ticket buyers.

Produced by the internationally acclaimed Third World Bunfight and conceived, designed and directed by celebrated South African director and playwright Brett Bailey, Macbeth sets Shakespeare’s story of greed, tyranny and remorse in the eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Visually stunning, politically provocative and musically adventurous, Macbeth has thrilled audiences and has drawn critical praise in Africa, Europe, Australia and South America. The VO and PuSh festival co-presentation will be only the third in North America.

Verdi’s score has been adapted by Belgian composer Fabrizio Cassol for 12 onstage musicians and 10 opera singers. Members of the Vancouver Opera Orchestra will perform alongside 10 singers and two percussionists from South Africa. The performances will be led by Serbian conductor Premil Petrović. Macbeth will be sung in Italian, with English SURTITLES™, by Brett Bailey, projected above the stage.
Over the past 20 years there have been more deaths in the eastern DRC than in any conflict since World War II, yet the crisis barely registers in the global media. Within a milieu of multinational double-dealings, ethnic conflict, ruthless militia, ‘blood minerals’ and glittering Chinese imports, a Congolese warlord, General Macbeth, and his ambitious wife murder the king and unleash atrocities on the crumbling province that they seize.

“We are thrilled to be working with the PuSh Festival on this exciting collaboration, and to bring Third World Bunfight’s team to Canada for the first time,” says James Wright, General Director of Vancouver Opera. “Brett Bailey is an influential theatre artist whose work demands to be experienced. His artists are exceptional and we will be pleased to welcome them to Vancouver. This will be a breathtaking Macbeth.”

“There are projects of such magnitude and importance they simply cannot happen unless you put your shoulder into them—as a curator, as a festival, and as a community,” says Norman Armour, Artistic and Executive Director of PuSh International Performing Arts Festival. “Undertaking this presentation with Vancouver Opera is that type of endeavour. Under Jim Wright’s leadership, VO has proven again and again that the operatic form can, and indeed must, wrestle with the world around us if it is to remain relevant, exciting, and truly of this time and place. For its part, the PuSh Festival remains driven by a commitment to present the work of artists such as Brett Bailey who are redefining and reaffirming the power of the live performing arts.”

Macbeth will be onstage at the Vancouver Playhouse for only five performances: Monday, January 16; Tuesday, January 17; Thursday, January 19; Friday, January 20; and Saturday, January 21, 2017.

Information about Third World Bunfight and Macbeth, including photographs and video excerpts, can be found at

Tickets to Macbeth will be available to Vancouver Opera and PuSh Festival patrons in summer 2016.