Waiting for the Sibyl is the story of the Cumean Sibyl, a prophetess. The Greek myth states she would write people’s fortunes or fates on oak leaves, a pile of which sat at the mouth of her cave. Upon the news of Sibyl and her leaves, people would seek out the cave to take the leaf on which was written their fate. But inevitably a wind would come up and swirl the leaves out of order leading to a confusion of the fates – leaving the seekers unsure of whether the fate they chose was their own, or the destiny of another. Hovering over this history, unspoken in the opera, but certain in our heads, was the fact that our contemporary Sibyl is the algorithm that will predict our future, our health, whether we’ll get a bank loan, whether we’ll live to 80, what our genetics will be. But there is a way in which we are still ﬁghting to hold on to the possibility of a human Sibyl: the desire we have for something other than the ma-chine, to guide us in how we see our future.
William Kentridge Concept and Director
Kyle Shepherd Music Director / Composer
Nhlanhla Mahlangu Associate Director / Choral Composer
Greta Goirus Costume Designer
Sabine Theunissen Set Designer
Urs Schönebaum Lighting Design
Žana Marović Projection Design
Stella Olivier Photography
Waiting for the Sybil is co-commissioned by Teatro dell’Opera di Roma, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg and Dramaten – Stockholm.