“I myself have put on Macbeth three times, but I think this  was slightly sharper.”

Ingmar Bergman, when  Artistic Director at the Royal Dramatic Theatre 



-Peace! the charm’s wound up.

by William Shakespeare
Adapted and Directed by Benoît Malmberg

A selection of musical pieces by the Renaissance master composer Josquin des Prez constitute the foundation of Romeo & Julia Kören’s adaptation of Macbeth.

The renaissance period music creates a framework for Shakespeare’s writings and highlights the selected scenes. This mix of fragmented dialogue and suggestive soundscape consolidates the murky character of the play.

Romeo & Julia Kören’s 70 minute performance captures the essence of this well known play about human vanity and megalomania and portrays a Macbeth who moves through time and space, and in between senses and insanities.

The play’s final battle – the conquest of the castle and the death of the titular hero – is staged as a stylized battle performed to the grandiose choral composition ”La Guerre” by Clément Janequin.

Romeo & Julia Kören’s Macbeth premiered in 1997 and has since then been performed at Shakespeare festivals in Germany, Poland, Lithuania and Denmark.

In Sweden it has been performed at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, Gothenburg City Theatre, Helsingborg Theatre and Kalmar Castle. In June 2019 Romeo & Julia Kören will tour in China with this production.

Shakespeare’s dialogue is performed in english and all songs in their original language.

  • Adapted and Directed by Benoît Malmberg
  • Music by Clément Janequin and Joaquin des Prez
  • Costumes byBarbro Hellsing and the costume department of the Royal Dramatic Theatre

Press quotes

Macbeth is breathtakingly beautiful

(Barometern-OT, Kalmar Castle in Sweden)

Victor Hugo once said, “Music expresses that which cannot be said and on which it is impossible to be silent”; this repeatedly holds true for this performance. The Swedes enrich the festival with a small but sparkling jewel of a performance that proves equally enchanting for the eyes and the ears.

(ngz-online-Shakespeare Festival Neuss)

And we, the audience, are left with a feeling of disappointment that it lasted for such a short amount of time.

(Makbet zabija piesn, Gdansk Shakespeare Festival)

…something to be spell- bound by. What a good idea! What a fascinating way to tell a story!

(Kulturnytt, The Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm)

The audience receives such astonishing treatment of its favorite author’s oeuvre with enthusiasm. They applaud for several minutes, they stamp their feet, until, finally, this wooden copy of the Globe Theater is shaken to its very foundations.

(DERWESTEN, Shakespeare Festival in Neuss)

The precise singing, expression, and dynamics are just as convincing as the purely physical dramatic achievements. The applause made the wooden Globe Theater tremble.

(fifty2go, Shakespeare Festival in Neuss)

It was an evening which will remain in the Festival chronicle as one more inspiring encounter of The Romeo & Juliet Choir of The Royal Dramatic Theatre of Stockholm,

(Glas Slavonije, Dubrovnik Summer Festival)


by Josquin Desprez (alphabetically)

  • Absalon fili mi
  • Agnus dei (from Missa Beata Virgine)
  • El grillo Guillaume se va chauffer
  • In te domine speravi
  • Je ris et si ay larme
  • Petite camusette
  • Scaramella
  • Vive le roy

by Clément Janequin

  • La Guerre – La battaglie de Marignon 1515

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

On his way home from battle, Macbeth, one of King Duncan’s generals, meets with three witches who prophecies he will be granted awards and eventually be king himself.  Shortly after that he is awarded by the King and starts to believe in the prophecy. Machbeth is infested with greed for more power, and encouraged by his wife he murders Duncan and claims the throne as the new King. But guilt torments both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth and drives them to madness and despair.

The Tragedy of Macbeth is Shakespeare’s shortest tragedy and is believed to have been written sometime between 1603-1607. The sources for the tragedy is Holinshed’s Chronicles (1587) though the Macbeth told there bears no relations to Shakespeare’s character since Holinshed’s account for him was as an admired and able monarch. In the backstage world of the theatre, the play is cursed and is often referred to as ”the Scottish play”.

A short history

When first performed by Romeo & Julia Kören the production was called ”1515 — The Battle of M” referring to the central musical piece in the production: La Guerre. This was not because the tragedy is supposedly cursed, but had more to do with the major re-arrangement and re-interpretation of the original text. The world famous director Ingmar Bergman visited one rehearsal and his reaction was: You’re doing Macbeth. Call it Macbeth. From thence the production is called Macbeth. Even though the original text is greatly reduced. The idea of the play within the play is of course inspired by Hamlet.


For rider and further information please contact Romeo & Julia Kören.