Did you know?
In 2009, South African opera singer Pretty Yende won all the main prizes in the prestigious International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.
Opera in South Africa is brought to life by a young, talented and passionate group of singers, musicians and conductors, while local composers continue to be inspired by our icons and stories, creating new works for local and international audiences.
Over the last decade, the Black Tie Ensemble has done much to popularise opera. This talented group of opera stars impressed audiences across the globe and at home, combining the best of classical opera with a rich African sounds.
The genre has found its home in the dynamic South African Opera company, Opera Africa. Their repertoire includes Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata, Rigoletto and Aida, all of which have been enthusiastically received by South African audiences.
The international opera world sat up and took notice in 2004 as history was made with the first African version of Georges Bizet's Carmen. Titled U-Carmen eKhayelitsha, this poignant opera was set in a modern-day South African township and was performed in Xhosa. The award-winning opera combined music from the original opera with traditional African music, and starred two South African Opera stars, Andiswa Kedama and Pauline Malefane.
Not to be overshadowed there was the recent production of Princess Magogo, the first South African opera written, composed and performed exclusively by local South African artists. An opera based on the life of Winnie Mandela by composer and musician Bongani Ndodana-Breen and filmmaker Warren Wilensky is set to open in 2011. It features lyrics in English and Xhosa and a 60-piece orchestra performing western and traditional African music,
One of the most outstanding stars in South African opera is Sibongile Khumalo, while sopranos like Elza van den Heever and baritones such as Njabulo Madladla, Abel Moeng and Kaiser Nskosi have launched promising careers on world stages.
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Who to contact
Tel: +27 (0) 11 340 8000
Cape Town Opera
Address: 1 - 10 DF Malan Street
Tel: +27 (21) 410 9807
Tel: +27 (0) 11 883-4189