Born in South Africa, Johan Engels studied the arts and design at the University of Pretoria. He designed sets for numerous opera, ballet, and theatre productions in his home country, earliest credits including Kern’s Show Boat Kerna and J. Strauss’s The Bat. He worked extensively with David Pountney, designing his productions of Nielsen’s Masquerade for the Bregenz Festival and the Royal Opera House, London; Chorus (Houston Grand Opera); Janáček’s Osud (Wiener Staatsoper); Eight Little Greats (Opera North); Smetana’s The Devil’s Wall (Prague); Puccini’s Turandot (Salzburg Festival); Porter’s Anything Goes (Grange Park Opera); Montemezzi’s The Love of Three Kings; Zemlinsky’s The Chalk Circle; J. Strauss’s Simplicius; Pfitzner’s Die Rose vom Liebesgarten; Chabrier’s The Star and Handel’s Agrippina (Zurich), as well as Mussorgsky’s Khovanshchina (Welsh National Opera). Other credits include: The Trojans by Berlioz (Deutsche Oper Berlin) and Puccini’s Triptych (Lyon), both staged by David Pountney; Webber’s Boys in the Photograph (Civic Theatre, Johannesburg); Massenet’s Thaïs (Göteborg Opera); Arne’s Artaxerxes (Royal Opera House, London), and Britten’s Midsummer Night’s Dream (Opera North). He also designed Cinderella for the Zürcher Ballett, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 for the Wiener Staatsopernballett, Verdi’s Macbeth, and Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet (Opera North), Berlioz’s Beatrice and Benedick (Chicago Opera Theatre), Verdi’s Otello (Parma, Monte Carlo, Los Angeles), as well as Verdi’s Don Carlos (Welsh National Opera, Canadian Opera, Houston Opera). He also devised costumes for the Vienna New Year’s Concert in 1998, 1999, 2003, 2004, and 2010.