Warlikowski Accused of Plagiarism For ‘Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk’ Production At Paris Opera

By David Salazar

Argentine director Marcelo Lombardero has accused Polish auteur Krzysztof Warlikowski of plagiarism with regards to his new production of “Lady Macbeth of Mtsenk.”

The story first broke in El País, where the Argentine director, who produced the opera nearly a decade ago in South America, noted that he was “honored” to see Warlikowski honor him with his take on the opera, which he set in a slaughterhouse during its first act. Lombardero also set the Shostakovich opera in a similar setting and noted that production stills closely resembled his own take.

He also noted that he was “stupefied” and “disrespected” and also remarked that he could do nothing regarding the situation. He mentioned that he had no intentions of filing any legal actions, though he was afraid that Warlikowski’s production might overshadow his own and make him look like the one copying the Polish director’s concept.

Warlikowski later responded in the same publication (OperaWire was also sent the original French version of this statement by the Opéra National de Paris) that Lombardero was not even the first director to set the opera in a slaughterhouse, emphasizing that David Poutney had done the same in 1987. He also stated that he had never encountered Lombardero’s production when creating his own.

“Should I adopt  the same attitude taken by Lombardero and claim that he knew of Poutney’s production and reused it,” he responded. “I never imagined being accused of plagiarism, and especially not by another director.”

He noted that he believed this was no coincidence that three different directors took this same approach to interpretation and imagined that others might see it the same way and could even “exploit” this idea in the future.

He concluded his message by stating that it was a “idiotic polemic” and that he invited audiences to watch their two productions and compare them on their own merits instead of via photographs.

“I hope this grotesque controversy comes to an end as soon as possible and that we can all return to work,” Warlikowski’s statement concluded.

Here is a look at Lombardero’s production.