W illiam Kentridge first came across opera as a child, listening to the records that his father played in their sitting room in Johannesburg – and clearly they made an impression.

Kentridge’s Wozzeckat the 2017 Salzburg Festival. Photo © Ruth Walz

“When I was 15 and when we had to say at school what activity we wanted to follow when we were an adult, foolishly I said that I wanted to be a conductor of operas. And then somebody said to me, but you understand that if you want to be a conductor you have to be able to read music. ‘Oh’, I said, ‘I hadn’t realised that, I’d better change my ambition’. So, directing operas is as close as I will ever get to that 15-year-old’s ambition,” he says.

Kentridge is one of South Africa’s most prominent visual artists, whose distinctive work is exhibited at leading galleries and museums around the world. He has a studio in the Johannesburg home where he grew up, where he now lives with his Australian wife Anne Stanwix (their three children are grown-up) and another bigger downtown studio in...

This article is available to Limelight subscribers.

Log in to continue reading.

Access our paywalled content and archive of magazines, regular news and features for the limited offer of $3 per month. Support independent journalism.

Subscribe now