Myth, magic, music, movement, and mesmerizing imagery combine in revered South African visual artist William Kentridge’s newest production.
Presented in two parts, SIBYL is inspired by the Greek myth of the Cumaean Sibyl, and wrestles with the human desire to know our future, and our helplessness before powers and technologies that obscure that knowledge from us. The chamber opera Waiting for the Sibyl features nine vocalists and dancers interacting with Kentridge’s distinctive stage design, which energizes the action of the performers with hand-painted sets, animated ink drawings, swirling projected text, collage, and shadow play.
Kentridge has taken the opera world by storm in recent years with his strikingly original productions of works by Berg, Mozart, and Shostakovich, which have graced such illustrious stages as the Metropolitan Opera, the English National Opera, the Théâtre National de l’Opéra (Paris), the Staatsoper (Berlin), and the Sydney Opera House, among many others.
The music is composed by Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd, and layers South African vocal harmonies with rhythmic chants and piano accompaniment. The first part of the program, The Moment Has Gone, is a film by Kentridge with live music featuring a piano score by Shepherd and an all-male vocal chorus led by Mahlangu. “Watching the opera unfold, it is hard not to luxuriate in Kentridge’s artistry. In the beauty of his drawings” (The Guardian).