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Shakespeares sonetter - Grieghallen, Griegsalen

Shakespeare’s Sonnets

Opening performance - day 2

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 director
Rufus Wainwright music
Jacques Reynaud costume design

The Berliner Ensemble
Stefan Rager conductor, percussion
Hans-Jörn Brandenburg keyboards
Dominic Bouffard guitar
Andreas Henze double bass

Isang Quartett
Sang Ha Hwang violin
Yewon Kim violin
Kyoung Min Park viola
Hoon Sun Chae cello

Duration: 2 h 45 mins

Scandinavian premiere

Performed in English, surtitled in Norwegian.

Please note: Limited stage view from price 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. 

Shakespeare's Sonnets is performed in Grieghallen 24 and 25 May 2017. Only the 25 May performance is currently on sale. Register at to get an email reminder when tickets for the 24 May performance are available.

Earlier Event: May 25
Richard Goode - Håkonshallen
Later Event: May 25
Sustain - Cornerteateret