Sibyl – a visual and aural alchemy by South African artist William Kentridge

SOH50-Sibyl-photo-credit-Stella-OlivierA rich sensory experience melding exquisite music, powerful vocals, and compelling visuals from visionary South African artist William Kentridge, with music by Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd, Sydney Opera House presents Sibyl from 2 – 4 November 2023.

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.

Part 1: The Moment Has Gone
A 22-minute short film with live score by Kyle Shepherd that combines piano and an all-male South African chorus led by Nhlanhla Mahlangu.

The film features Kentridge’s unique charcoal animation technique of successive erasure and redrawing conjuring his alter ego Soho Eckstein.

Set between a municipal art museum and an abandoned mining area at the edges of the city where unofficial artisanal gold mining takes place, Soho comes face to face with his fate.

Part 2: Waiting for the Sibyl
A 42-minute visually stunning chamber opera that incorporates the signature elements of Kentridge’s visionary practice – projection, live performance, recorded music, dance / movement.

Waiting for the Sibyl tells the story of the Cumaean prophetess Sibyl. It explores what it means to grapple with the endlessly human task of making sense of our contemporary world and living with uncertainty about our future.

Created in collaboration with choral director and dancer Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd, one of South Africa’s leading progressive pianists and composers, it is a piece for nine performers that unfolds in a series of 6 short scenes.

Waiting for the Sibyl is a profound, jarring, playful, and a visually stunning meditation on what it means to be alive.

“To call it stimulating would be an understatement. It is also cumulatively, and sometimes almost inexplicably, moving.” – The Times

Joan Sutherland Theatre – Sydney Opera House, Bennelong Point, Sydney
Season: 2 – 4 November 2023
Information and Bookings:

Image: Sibyl – photo by Stella Olivier