There’s a lot of excitement building at Fairfield University’s Quick Center. It has to do with the U.S. premiere of Brett Bailey’s radical, live opera Macbeth. Scheduled for Sept. 16 and 17, this is a major event, which is in collaboration with the Philadelphia Fringe Festival. This unique adaptation of Verdi’s opera is set in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Macbeth is a dictator.
Bailey is the artistic director and hails from South Africa. He directed the opening show at the World Summit on Arts and Culture in Johannesburg (2009), and directed the opening shows at the Harare International Festival of the Arts. He was also curator for South Africa’s only public arts festival in Cape Town from 2008 – 2011. Additionally, his works have played across Europe, Australia and Africa, and have won awards, including a gold medal for design at the Prague Quadrennial (2007). He sits on the drama selection committee for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa and he delivered the International Theatre Institute – Theatre Day – message at UNESCO last year.
The Quick Center’s performance of Macbeth will include an ensemble of 10 South American opera singers and the Greater Bridgeport Symphony conducted by Premil Petrovic. What a great cooperative community experience for all involved.
Conductor Premil Petrovic is initiator, chief conductor and artistic director of the No Borders Orchestra. In 1996 he founded the music theater of one of Belgrade’s most important, politically active venues of the 1990s. Petrovic is one of the leading personalities in the music scene of his native Serbia. He has worked with South African director Brett Bailey on the new post-colonial production of Verdi’s Macbeth. Since 2014 the opera has been performed at some of the most important festivals in Europe – Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, Festival d’Automne in Paris, Kunstenfestivaldesarts in Brussels, and the Barbican in London, among others.
Playing the title role is Owen Metsileng from the village of Manamakgotha in Rustenburg, South Africa. He comes from a musical family and started singing at an early age in church and school choirs. He was a member of the Black Tie Ensemble from 2006 to 2008 and joined the Cape Town Opera Studio in 2010. During his time at the Cape Town Opera he performed as Le Dancaïre in Carmen and Barone Douphol in La Traviata, Marcello in La Bohème, and Jake in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on a UK Tour.
Lady Macbeth will be played by Nobulumko Mngxekeza, who was born in Queenstown. She was introduced to music when she joined her high school choir at Kwa-Komani High. In her young career she has performed in Carmen as Micaella, as Bess in Porgy and Bess, as Pamina in Der Zaubeflute, as Anna in Nabucco — as well in Rusalko and I’ll Mulatto. She has sung with the Isango Ensemble where she performed in The Magic Flute.
For tickets to this special event, contact the Quick Center box office: quickcenter.com or 203-254-4010.