Third World Bunfight

Opera like you have never experienced it. Verdi’s Macbeth based on Shakespeare’s drama of ambition, treachery and terror – performed by an all-South African cast and a Balkan orchestra, and set amongst the wars and ruthless exploitation that have ravaged the Great Lakes Region of Central Africa for decades. Within a milieu of multinational double-dealings, ethnic conflict, brutal militia, ‘blood minerals’ and glittering Chinese imports, a Congolese warlord and his ambitious wife murder their leader and unleash atrocities on the crumbling African province that they seize. This visually explosive work, with zappy streetwise sur-titles, toured 31 cities on 6 continents between 2014 and 2017. It was produced by Third World Bunfight, directed and designed by Brett Bailey, and the music adapted by Belgium’s Fabrizio Cassol. Serbian Premil Petrovic conducts his No Borders Orchestra along with two South African percussionists. Lady Macbeth is sung by soprano Nobulumko Mngxekeza, Macbeth by Owen Metsileng, and Banquo by Otto Maidi.

  • Genre: Theatre, Opera, Performance Art
  • Format:
  • Duration: 1hr 40mins
  • Language: Italian opera with English sur-titles
  • Ages: 12+
  • Available From: July 1, 2020
Content no longer available.


Film edited by: Catherine Henegan, Free State Productions.

Conceptualised, designed and directed by Brett Bailey
Music by Fabrizio Cassol, adapted from Verdi’s Macbeth
Conducted by Premil Petrovic
Lighting by Felice Ross
Choreographed by Natalie Fisher

Video Illustration & animation: Roger Williams
Photographs in performance: Marcus Bleasdale/VII and Cedric Gerbehaye


Macbeth – Owen Metsileng
Lady Macbeth – Nobulumko Mngxekeza
Banquo – Otto Maidi

Sandile Kamle, Jacqueline Manciya, Monde Masimini, Lunga Hallam, Bulelani Madondile, Philisa Sibekoi, Thomakazi Holland

Stanko Madic (1st violin), Jelena Dimitrijevic (2nd violin), Sasa Mirkovic (viola), Dejan Bozic (cello), Ilin-Dime Dimovski (double bass), Jasna Nadles (flute), Aleksandar Tasic (clarinet), Nenad Markovic (trumpet), Ivan Jotic (bassoon), Viktor Ilieski (trombone), Cherilee Adams (percussion), Dylan Tabisher (marimba & vibraphone)

Produced by Barbara Mathers
Technical Manager Miguel Munoz
Company Manager Catherine Henegan
Stage Assistant Pule Sethlako
AV engineer & technical assistant Carlo Thompson
Re-lighter Tal Bitton
Sound Engineer Pierre-Olivier Boulant


BRETT BAILEY is a Cape Town-based playwright, director, designer and installation maker. He is the chairperson of the curatorial committee of the National Arts Festival, and has served on several international theatre juries. He was selected to write and deliver the prestigious International Theatre Institute’s World Theatre Day message for UNESCO in 2014, and was awarded the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres (Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters) by the French government in 2019. He has won several awards including the 2001 Standard Bank Young Artist for Theatre and the gold medal for theatrical design at the Prague Quadrennial in 2007.

FABRIZIO CASSOL is a composer and saxophonist with the group Aka Moon. His varied career has seen him work with world-famous choreographers including Alain Platel at Ballets C de la B, and Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker; with composer Philippe Boesmans and opera director Luc Boesmans; and with the theatre company tg STAN. He has a strong interest in world music, triggered by spending time with the Aka, a nomadic Mbenga pygmy people who live in the Central African Republic.

PREMIL PETROVIC is the artistic director of No Borders Orchestra. He studied conducting under Professor Winfried Müller at the Academy of Music Hanns Eisler in Berlin. In 1996 Premil founded the music theatre in Cinema REX – one of Belgrade’s most important, politically active venues during the 1990s. Premil is one of the leading personalities in the music scene of his native Serbia. He lives in Berlin, conducts different orchestras worldwide and appears on international festivals. Premil’s repertoire includes historical interpretations of old music, classic-romantic operas and symphonic repertoire and numerous world premieres of contemporary music.

OWEN METSILENG comes from a musical family and started singing at an early age in church and school choirs. Owen was a member of the Black Tie Ensemble from 2006 to 2008 and joined the Cape Town Opera Studio in 2010. For Cape Town Opera he has sung Le Dancaïre in Carmen and Barone Douphol in La traviata, while also understudying the role of Giorgio Germont. He also sang the role of Marcello in La bohème as well as Jake in Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess on a UK Tour. In September 2012, Owen performed in Cape Town Opera’s Gala Concerts with Orchestra Victoria at the Hamer Hall in Melbourne. He also took part in the Belvedere singing competition and was chosen to compete in the finals in Amsterdam in 2014. Since January 2018 Owen has performed in Fabrizio Cassol’s and Alain Patel’s REQUIEM POUR L.

NOBULUMKO MNGZEKEZA enrolled at the University of Cape Town’s College of Music in 2001 and trained under Virginia Davids, Sidwill Hartman, Marisa Mavchio and Angela Gobatto. 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. Nobulumko has worked for Isango Ensemble where she performed in the following productions, Impempe Yomlingo (The Magic Flute), Abanxaxhi (La Boheme), Aesop ‘s Fables and Ragged Trouser Philanthropist. Nobulumko has also travelled internationally with various productions for Cape Town Opera where she was previously a Studio Member. Since January 2018 Nobulumko has performed in Fabrizio Cassol’s and Alain Patel’s REQUIEM POUR L.