Johan Engels

Designer

Johan Engels

Johan Engels studied Fine Arts and Design at the University of Pretoria and worked extensively from 1975 - 1980 in Opera, Ballet and Theatre including designs for PACT (Performing Arts Council) and the Market Theatre, Johannesburg.

Lulu at the Welsh National Opera is the winner of the TMA "Achievement in Opera" Award 2013

Whilst working for PACT Johan designed many classical ballets including:

Swan Lake
Giselle
Cinderella
The Nutcracker
Romeo and Juliet
La Bayadere (Act 2)

Click here to see Kaffe Fassett Exhibition designed by Johan

2014
Thais Los Angeles Opera
The Passenger Houston Opera
Dir. David Pountney
Die Zauberflote (revival) Bregenzer Festspiele
Dir. David Pountney
2013
A Midsummer Night's Dream Opera North
Dir. Martin Duncan
Lulu (sets) Welsh National Opera, co-production with Prague National Opera
Dir. David Pountney
'David Pountney's dazzling new production for WNO, his first for the company since becoming its intendant, feeds enthusiastically on the work's excesses, makes little serious attempt to sort out its muddles, but accepts it as the basis for a spectacular and unforgettable show, stunning to look at, shattering to listen to. Berg's score is nobody's easy ride: not the audience's, certainly not the singers' or players'. Yet the packed house clearly adored every long minute, and happily left their comprehension at the door.' The Arts Desk, Stephen Walsh
'Welsh National Opera's only previous production of Lulu, in 1971, was the first ever by a British Company. The new one is a landmark too, for it opens the first of WNO's thematic seasons planned by its new artistic director David Pountney, who is also responsible for this staging, with designers Johan Engels (sets) and Marie-Jeanne Lecca (costumes). It's a remarkable achievement, the most penetrating and imaginative version of Berg's unfinished opera yet seen in these islands.' The Guardian, Andrew Clements
'Wedekind's fin-de-siècle locations, each with their own specific seediness, are ditched in favour of a single set - Johan Engel's extraordinary steel scaffolding, evoking something between a circus tent (fitting at least, because the opera starts with a parade of the "human menagerie"), an industrial gantry, and a gallows gradually filled with the hanging corpses of Lulu's lovers and husbands.' The Times, Richard Morrison
Parsifal Lyric Opera Chicago
Dir. John Caird
'Engels' sets and costumes have a colourful quality and lean integrity' Lawrence A. Johnson - Chicago Classical Review
'From its electrifying dramatic moments, to its technical marvels and striking visual symbolism, all crowned with some of Wagner's most moving music, Parsifal is the one Lyric Opera production you really must experience this season.' Lori Dana - Chicago Stage Review
'Set and costume designer Johan Engels along with Lighting Designer Duane Schuler, provide mega visual treats.' Katy Walsh - Chicago Theater Beat
'Glistening new production'.......'Lyric's new production, created by English director John Caird with sets and costumes by South African designer Johan Engels, delves () resonantly into the opera's tangle of sin and redemption.' Wynne Delacoma - Sun Times
Die Zauberflote Bregenzer Festspiele
Dir. David Pountney
Thais (revival) Finnish National Opera
Dir. Nicola Raab
2012
New Years Day Concert

Österreichischer Rundfunk
Chor. Ashley Page

Mathis der Maler Theater an der Wien
Costume Design: Emma Ryott
Dir. Keith Warner
Von Heute auf Morgen
Sancta Susanna
Opera de Lyon
Dir. John Fulljames
Il Trittico
Il Tabarro, Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicci
Opera de Lyon
Dir. David Pountney
Don Carlos (revival) Houston Grand Opera
Dir. John Caird
2011
The Passenger English National Opera
Dir. David Pountney
Faust (Gounod) Opera National de Paris
Dir. Jean Louis Martinoty
New Years Day Concert Vienna ORF TV
2010
Die Passagierin Polish National Opera
Dir. David Pountney
Macbeth (revival) New Zealand Opera
Dir. Tim Albery
The Trojans Deutsche Oper, Berlin
Dir. David Pountney
Thais Goteborg Opera, Sweden
Dir. Nicola Raab
Die Passagierin Bregenz Festival Festspielhaus
Dir. David Pountney
The Boys in The Photograph Johannesburg Civic Theatre
Dir. Janice Honeyman

The 8th Naledi Theatre Awards South Africa, Best Theatre Set Design -

Johan Engels for Boys in the Photograph

'For The Boys in the Photograph the scenery is simply the most elaborate and inventive I've ever seen.' Lesley Stones
'First, one is overawed by the remarkable set, which continually changes shape and size and can slot into a soccer field, become locker rooms, a pub, a prison and the drab bombed-out backstreets of war-torn Belfast. ... one's attention is continually drawn to this masterpiece in design...It's not often we see the full effects of The Mandela Theatre's technology at work and it is simply amazing to see the ever changing landscape unfold before your eyes.' Peter Feldman
'First of all it is a lavish production...It is smooth and in spite of many complicated scene and costume changes runs effortlessly...On a theatre and musical level it is a local production of note with magnificent and highly functional set designs by Johan Engels. This may be the best work this great designer has ever done.' Leon van Nierop
2009
Artaxerxes Royal Opera House
Dir. Martin Duncan
L'Elisir d'Amore
(revival)
Los Angeles Opera
Dir. Stephen Lawless
Agripinna

Zurich Opernhaus
Dir. David Poutney

Chorus Houston Grand Opera, Texas
Dir. David Pountney
2008
Symphony - World Tour 2008 Sarah Brightman World Tour 2008
Production Designer
Otello Los Angeles Opera
Dir. John Cox
Shakespeare Season:
Macbeth
Romeo & Juliet
Midsummer Nights Dream
Opera North
Dir. Tim Albery
Dir. John Fulljames
Dir. Martin Duncan
Opera North Shakespeare Season Winner of the Best Opera Award at The TMA Awards 2008
'Johan Engels' setting is, in every sense, groovy. The forest is formed from corrugated, translucent sheeting that suggests both tree stumps and fluted Athenian columns, while also seeming not unlike a giant, rubberised shower curtain. Combined with the giant bubbles floating overhead............it begins to appear as if the action occurs at some splashily high-spirited, cosmic bath time.' Alfred Hickling, The Guardian

M.E.N Awards 2008, 'Opera Award' to 'Macbeth', Opera North, Designer Johan Engels

Best Opera Award 2008 at the TMA Awards goes to Opera North for their Shakespeare Season 2008; 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' 'Romeo et Juliette' and ' Macbeth' Designed by Johan Engels; 'Romeo et Juliette' Directed by John Fulljames

2007
The Cherry Orchard Theatr Clwyd
Director: Terry Hands
Il Tabarro & Djamileh Opera de Lyon
Dir. David Pountney
Otello Teatro di Regio, Parma
Dir. John Cox
Don Carlos
Set Design
Revival

Canadian Opera Company, Toronto
Director: John Caird

Khovanshchina
Set Design
Welsh National Opera
Dir. David Pountney

'Johan Engels's huge, topsy-turvy Constructisvist sets suggest an interim age of turmoil: perhaps the 1920's, when the clamour of competing revolutionary ideologies had not yet been stamped out by Stalin's brutal boot.' The Times

Beatrice & Benedict Chicago Opera Theatre
Dir. Nicola Raab
Otello

Monte Carlo
Director: John Cox

2006
La Vida Breve Greek National Opera
L'Etoile
Set Design

Zurich Opera
Director: David Pountney
Composer: Emmanuel Chabrier

Auto Africa Car Show
Daimler/Chrysler: Gold Medal for Best Exhibition
Johannesburg
2005
The Magic Flute
Set Design

Vienna Volksoper
Dir. Helmut Lohner

Maskarade
Set Design

Royal Opera House and Bregenz Festival
Dir. David Pountney

'...a highly accomplished piece of work... high-sprited fun...' Opera Now Magazine, Nov / Dec 05 Issue.

Don Carlos

Welsh National Opera
Dir. John Caird

'... a testimony to the brilliance of Johan Engels...' Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

Showboat
Set Design

Cape Town, South Africa, also Nurnberg and Oslo
Dir. Janice Honeyman

Osud costume design
Le Villi

Vienna State Opera
Dirs. Karoline Gruber and David Pountney

Troilus and Cressida

Theatre Clywd, Mold
Dir. Terry Hands

2004

Die Fledermaus

Artscape Opera School, Cape Town, South Africa
Dir. Janice Honeyman

Der Schwerg, La Vida Breve
Love's Luggage Lost, Il Tabarro,
Francesca da Rimini,
I Pagliacci
Djamileh, The seven Deadly Sins

Set design

Opera North
Eight One-Act Operas
Dirs. David Pountney and Christopher Alden

2003

Caucasian Chalk Circle
by Zemlinsky

Opernhaus Zurich
Dir. David Pountney

New Year's Day Concert 2003

Vienna - ORF, Austrian State Television

Die Kreiderkreis Zurich Opera
Dir. David Pountney
Lohengrin Spoletto Festival
Dir. Giancarlo Menotti

Harem Tour - Costumes

Sarah Brightman Tour

Poe Hackney Empire, London
Dir. David Pountney
2002

Spartacus

Vienna State Ballet
Chor. Renato Zanella

Anything Goes

Grange Park Opera
Dir David Pountney

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

Theatr Clwyd
Dir. Terry Hands

Turandot Salzburger Festspiele
Dir. David Pountney
2001

The Devil's Wall
(Smetana)

Prague National Opera
Dir David Pountney

Il Ritorno d'Ulisse

New York City Opera
Dir. John Cox

L'Elisir d'Amore

Graz, Austria
Dir. Stephen Lawless

Aida Cagliari Opera
Dir. Graham Vick
2000

L'Amore dei Tre Re

Zurich Opera.
Dir. David Pountney

New Ballet
(to Beethoven's 5th Piano Concerto)

Vienna State Ballet.
Chor. Renato Zanella

Sarah Brightman
World Tour

Tour 2000

1999

Eden
Sarah Brightman
World Tour

Tour 1999

New Year's Day Concert from Vienna 1999 (costumes)

Filmed in Vienna
Chor. John Neumeyer

The Return of Ulysses

Glimmerglass Opera
Dir John Cox

Simplicius
Johan Strauss

Zurich Opera
Dir David Pountney

1998

Die Rose vom Liebesgarten
Pfitzner

Zurich Opera
Dir David Pountney

Elektra

Barrymore Theatre, Broadway, New York, 1999 with Zoe Wannmaker and Claire Bloom
Originally at Chichester Festival Theatre, Donmar,London; McCarter Theatre, Princeton
Dir. David Leveaux

1997

The Cherry Orchard: Free State

Birmingham
Dir. Janet Suzman

Elektra Donmar Warehouse, London
Dir. David Leveaux

The Seagull

National Theatre, Norway
Dir. Terry Hands

Suzanna Andler

Chichester Festival Theatre
With Julie Christie
Dir. Lindie Davies

Heritage
new play by Stephen Churchett.

Hampstead Theatre, Tour UK

1996
New Year's Concert from Vienna 1996 Filmed in Vienna
Chor. Heinz Spoerli

Das Rheingold

Opera de Marseille, France
Dir. Charles Roubaud

Die Walkure

Opera de Marseille, France
Dir. Charles Roubaud

L'Elisir d'Amore

Dir. Stephen Lawless, a Los Angeles Opera production revived in Washington, Geneva and Madrid; Houston (2000) and again in LA

1995

Richard III, Hamlet

Shochiku Company, Japan
Dir. Giles Block

Hamlet

Volksoper,Vienna
Dir.Stephen Lawless

The Visit Chichester Festival
Dir. Terry Hands
1994

Death of a Salesman

Theatre Clwyd
Dir. Janet Suzman

Hamlet

Theatre Marigny,Paris
Dir.Terry Hands

Romeo and Juliet

Crucible Theatre
Dir. Michael Rudman

The Royal Hunt of the Sun

Tokyo
Dir. Terry Hands

The Admirable Crichton

Chichester
Dir. Michael Rudman

Hated Nightfall

Wrestling School
Dir. Howard Barker

1993

Translations

Donmar Warehouse
Dir. Sam Mendes

E.T.A Hoffmann Gessnerallee, Zurich
Dir. Daniel Kastura

Mansfield Park

Crucible Theatre
Dir. Michael Rudman

Marlene Theater am Kurfurstendamm, Berlin
Dir. Terry Hands
1992

Glengarry Glenross

Donmar Warehouse
Dir. Sam Mendes

Arden of Faversham

Schauspielhaus, Zurich
Dir. Terry Hands

Indians Recklinghausen Festival, Germany
Dir. Terry Hands

Simon Boccanegra

Bremen, Germany
Dir. Terry Hands

Victory

Wrestling School
Dir. Kenny Ireland

Tamburlaine the Great
(Olivier Award Nomination for Bset Costume Design)

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Dir. Terry Hands

1991
Dr. Jekyl & Mr Hyde Royal Shakespeare Company, Barbican
Dir. Peter Wood

The Plough and the Stars

Young Vic
Dir. Sam Mendes

The Seagull

Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Dir. Terry Hands

1990

She's in Your Hands

Royal Exchange Manchester
Dir. Greg Hersov

The Idiot

Royal Exchange Manchester
Dir. Greg Hersov

When We Dead Awaken

Almeida Theatre (costumes)
Dir. Jonathan Kent

1989

In the Talking Dark

Royal Exchange Manchester
Dir. Braham Murray

As You Like It

Royal Shakespeare Company
Dir. David Thacker

The Bed Before Yesterday

Almeida Theatre
Dir. Peter Wood

A Dream of People

Royal Shakespeare Company
Dir. Janet Suzman

Have Royal Shakespeare Theatre
Dir. Janice Honeyman
1986 - 1988
Johan returned to South Africa for three years and worked on several productions at The Market Theatre with Janice Honeyman, Robert Whitehead and Janet Suzman
1981 -1985

Hay Fever

Royal Exchange Manchester
Dir. James Maxwell

The Brigands

Opera Viva

Maria Tudor

Opera Rara

Giustino

Handel Opera

Le Jongleur de Notre Dame

Wexford Festival

Rigoletto

Maggio Musicale, Florence, Italy

Martha Sadlers Wells Opera
Dir. Nicholas Hytner
Doctor Miracle & Margot le Rouge Camden Opera
Dir. Robert Carsen
Rigoletto Maggio Musical Florence
Dir. Yuri Lubimov
Amadeus
As You Like It
The Crucible, Sheffield
Dir. Tim Piggot Smith
1980
Sabatical year with four terms as observer at: Deutsche Oper , Berlin; Glyndebourne Festival, England; Bayreuth Festspiele, Germany; Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Agent - Loesje Sanders

 

FILM

An African Dream
Othello
(Channel 4)
The Native who caused all the Trouble


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last update : 27 March, 2014