Puppet Chamber Opera

Homer's Odyssey is brought to vivid life in William Kentridge's restaging of this classic Monteverdi opera. Set in mid-20th-century Johannesburg, this version of the work combines sublime music and libretto with Kentridge's animated charcoal drawings and life-size wooden puppets beautifully carved by Handspring Puppet Company, bringing the audience face to face with the power of myth. The music is interpreted by the Ricercar Consort under the direction of early music specialist Philippe Pierlot.

Ulisse is no longer in Ithaca. Instead, he lies reminiscing in a hospital bed in Johannesburg before death comes greet him. As he remembers his ten-year expedition following the Trojan War, his romantic return to his wife Penelope becomes an epic dream that intersects not only with classical Greece but also with Monteverdi’s Venice and contemporary South Africa. A timeless story of homecoming, fortune, adoration and human frailty.

Running time : 100 minutes



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  • 2021-11-04 00:00:00 2021-11-05 00:00:00 - Philharmonie, Luxembourg - Luxembourg
  • 2019-04-18 00:00:00 2019-04-19 00:00:00 - Opéra Royal, Versailles - France
  • 2019-03-29 00:00:00 2019-04-03 00:00:00 - Maison de la Danse, Lyon - France
  • 2019-03-23 00:00:00 2019-03-24 00:00:00 - Opéra de Vichy, Vichy - France
  • 2019-02-07 00:00:00 2019-02-10 00:00:00 - Teatro Massimo, Palermo - Italy
  • 2016-11-14 00:00:00 2016-11-16 00:00:00 - Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York - USA
  • 2016-05-28 00:00:00 2016-05-29 00:00:00 - Asia Culture Center, Gwangju - Republic of Korea


An opera by Claudio Monteverdi
Director and video animation: William Kentridge
Assistant director on the revival: Luc de Wit
Musical director and Music arrangements: Philippe Pierlot
Set design: Adrian Kohler and William Kentridge
Puppets and costume design: Adrian Kohler from Handspring Puppet Company
Lighting design: Wesley France
Puppet Construction: Adrian Kohler & Tau Qwelane
Video Film Editing: Catherine Meyburgh
Animation assistants: Anne McIlleron & Nina Gebauer
Picture and Video research: Gail Behrmann


Singers (provisional line-up): Julian Prégardien, Jean- François Novelli, Valerio Contaldo, Hanna Bayodi, Romina Basso, Antonio Abete, Anna Zander
Musicians: Ricercar Consort on period instruments (viola da gamba, harp, theorbo)
Puppeteers: Rachel Leonard, Gabriel Marchand, Jon Riddleberger, Enrico Wey, Busi Zokufa

Stage Manager and Video Operator: Kim Gunning
Company Tour Manager: Wesley France
Technical Manager: Herman Sorgeloos

1998 Production: La Monnaie/De Munt (Brussels, Belgium), Handspring Puppet Company (Cape Town, South Africa), Wiener Festwochen (Vienna, Austria), Kunsten FESTIVAL des Arts (Brussels, Belgium) with generous support of the Flemish Governement