Notes towards a model opera


“Notes towards a model opera”, William Kentridge (ZA)

Yesterday is overlaid by today, but it is as hard to erase the past as what is happening now: In Notes towards a model opera, South African artist William Kentridge deals with the multi‑faceted traces and interconnections of European, and also Chinese, colonialism on the African continent. His 3‑channel video and sound installation is based on comprehensive research into the intellectual, political and social history of modern China and the eight model operas of the Chinese Cultural Revolution. Viewers watch symbols of the revolution overlap with the atrocities of the apartheid regime in South Africa, the history of European colonialism and China’s current business interests.

William Kentridge was born in 1955 to Jewish migrants in Johannesburg, South Africa, and experienced the inhumanity of the apartheid regime as a migrant and member of the wealthy ruling class. His work examines the relationships in history and politics between personal memory, collective responsibility and cultural identity. Kentridge is internationally renowned for his large‑scale installations and is also amongst the world’s foremost theatre and opera directors. His films, drawings, subjects and performances transform traumatic political experience into poetic allegory.

A Project by: William Kentridge
Choreography: Dada Masilo
Composition and arrangement: Philip Miller
Performers: Dada Masilo, Tlale Makhene, Bham Ntabeni, Thato Mothlaolwa, Thabani Edwin Ntuli
Musicians: vocals Bham Ntabeni, Moses Moeta, Joanna Dudley, Ann Masina, tlale Makhene, Thato Motlhaolwa, Percussion Tlale Makhene, trombone Dan Selsick, trumpet and spoons Adam Howard, Tuba George Fombe, guitar Charles Knighten-Pullen, Stroh violin Waldo Alexander
Curated by: Schauspielhaus Graz

„William Kentridges Arbeiten – seien sie fürs Theater oder die Oper, seien es Zeichnungen oder Installationen – verhandeln gesellschaftliche Konflikte. Sie sind politisch, schaffen sinnliche und zugleich komplexe Bildräume und setzen auf die Mehrdeutigkeit suggestiver Bilder. In dem gezeigten Werk beschäftigt er sich mit den vielgestaltigen Verflechtungen des europäischen und auch des chinesischen Kolonialismus auf dem afrikanischen Kontinent. Das Schauspielhaus Graz setzt mit diesem Beitrag seinen „Afrika“-Diskurs fort.“

– Iris Laufenberg, Intendantin Schauspielhaus Graz