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William Kentridge’s SIBYL

Cal Performances, 101 Zellerbach Hall # 4800 Berkeley, CA, 94720-4800

03/17/2023 - 03/19/2023


About the event

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. The music is composed by Nhlanhla Mahlangu and Kyle Shepherd, and layers South African vocal harmonies with rhythmic chants and piano accompaniment.

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 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. “Combining art, theater, music, and dance, Sibyl is 21st- century international culture par excellence” (The Financial Times).

Join us a post-performance Q&A with the artists and Cal Performances executive and artistic director Jeremy Geffen on Sunday, March 19. Free to all ticket holders of that date.

SIBYL is co-commissioned by Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, and Dramaten-Stockholm. Executive Producer: THE OFFICE performing arts + film.

This event is part of Cal Performances’ Illuminations: “Human and Machine” programming for the 2022–23 season.

This event is part of a season-long campus residency with William Kentridge.

Major support provided by The Bernard Osher Foundation.

The March 18 performance is made possible, in part, by Lance and Dalia Nagel; the March 19 performance is made possible, in part, by Nadine Tang.

Run time for this performance is approximately 85 minutes, including intermission.


Kyle Shepherd, Nhlanhla Mahlangu, Xolisile Bongwana, Thulani Chauke, Teresa Phuti Mojela, Thandazile “Sonia” Radebe, Ayanda Nhlangothi, Zandile Hlatshwayo, Siphiwe Nkabinde, S’busiso Shozi

Price Range

$25 - $135

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Useful Info

Live Event
Cal Performances, 101 Zellerbach Hall # 4800 Berkeley, CA, 94720-4800
Large Theater
No kids under 5 years old

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