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Sibyl - Sydney Opera House (NSW)

Created and devised by William Kentridge

Reviewed by Karen Illesca & Theatre Thoughts

Joan Sutherland Theatre, Sydney Opera House

2nd-4th November, 0223


- William Kentridge explodes onto the Sydney Opera House stage in an extraordinary multidisciplinary work -

South African artist William Kentridge's artistic genius takes center stage in this remarkable production, showcasing his extraordinary multidisciplinary creative talents. Kentridge masterfully combines various art forms, including soulful South African choral music, live piano performance, film, projected animation, and movement. The result is an enthralling sensory experience that unfolds as a series of captivating tableaux-style scenes.

The performance opens with four male singers, accompanied by the live piano artistry of Kyle Shepherd, this initial sequence not only introduces the audience to the production's musical elements but also offers a glimpse into Kentridge's distinctive animation style.

The inspiration behind this artistic vision draws from the ancient Greek myth of the Cumean Sibyl, a mystical figure known for delivering prophecies in a state of ecstatic trance. This mythical source material sets the stage for a series of short scenes that follow. These scenes are not only highly engaging but also vibrant and visually stunning.

What sets this production apart is the seamless fusion of various artistic elements. Physical performances and animation come together in perfect harmony. The stage becomes a canvas upon which shadow movements, dances, and playful interactions unfold in tandem with projected imagery. The performers use movement, vocal expression, and song to breathe life into the story.

Images from 'Sibyl' at the Sydney Opera House. Images: Supplied by Sydney Opera House

Throughout the performance, audiences are treated to a visually rich tapestry that explores a myriad of themes. Animated trees, typewriters, and words dance across the stage, inviting viewers to contemplate ideas of creation, destruction, meaning, aspiration, and expression. At times, the narrative takes on an absurd, ambiguous, and amusing quality, adding depth and complexity to the experience.

In essence, this production is an extraordinary artistic achievement that engages the senses and the mind. It seamlessly weaves together different artistic disciplines into a cohesive and immersive whole.

For us who sought a truly impactful and captivating artistic experience, this production was an unmissable opportunity. Kentridge's ability to push the boundaries of creativity and evoke a range of emotions through his art is nothing short of impressive.



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