Artwork by William Kentridge entitled Undo, Unsay. It depicts a black typewriter, drawn in ink over four columns of newsprint.

🎵 As part of the Sydney Opera House 50th Birthday celebrations there was a staging of South African artist/director William Kentridge’s amazing piece, Waiting for the Sibyl.

Costume, dance, song, piano, animation, shadow-play. Is it actually an opera? Well I suppose you have to call it something, even though like much of Kentridge’s work it feels sui generis.

There is layer upon layer of meaning and reference, exploring the uncertainty of fate in the face of certain mortality , from classical Greek mythology, to Calder’s mobiles, to a decidedly unstable art gallery, to Kentridge’s doppelganger, to ersatz South African gold mining, to Dante, to Dada, to the banality and profundity of communication. Wonderful singing in multiple languages led by Nhlanhla Mahlangu. Youtube has a preview of the piece from when it was first performed four years ago in Rome. Now though there’s also a prelude, a companion piece entitled The Moment Has Gone.

Both these works, I believe, were co-written and performed by the jazz pianist Kyle Shepherd. Well worth a listen to Kyle’s oevre of jazz and film-score. And he reveals his creative process in a fascinating two-part talk at Johannesburg’s Centre for the Less Good Idea. Now here’s a rabbit hole I won’t be escaping from for a while.

Image source: William Kentridge, Undo, Unsay (2012). Strauss&Co #music #SydneyOperaHouse