Opera takes magic to kids

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Lovers of opera are in for a treat when one of the most celebrated operatic works, now wowing audiences overseas, hits South Africa in September.

Directed by thespian and print master William Kentridge, Mozart's The Magic Flute is sponsored by Rand Merchant Bank.

It will be performed in Cape Town at the Artscape Theatre from September 8 and in Johannesburg at the Civic Theatre from September 29.

Tickets for such musicals are expensive, but Kentridge, in association with Rand Merchant Bank, is looking for additional funds that will provide matinee performances for free for school- children from previously disadvantaged communities.

Kentridge has granted six of South Africa's leading red wine producers the opportunity to use selected MagicFlute images for their label designs.

This creative initiative between the wine industry and culture and the arts is proposed to meet the substantial costs of the outreach initiative.

Carolynne Waterhouse of Rand Merchant Bank said: "Over the years, the RMB brand has benefited from strong alliances with both the magic of music and the world of wine through the Starlight Classics concerts and RMB WineX.

"But this convergence of opera, art, technology and now wine, is indeed special.

"The launch of the Kentridge- clad great wines will result in the genius of Mozart and the wizardry of Kentridge reaching and inspiring disadvantaged children from Cape Town and Johannesburg," she said.

Each cellar has chosen a reserve wine selection in quantities ranging from 50 to 500 cases.

These will be for sale under the cellar's name, though each selection will now bear its own Kentridge label design, drawn from images produced for The Magic Flute sets.

The Kentridge edition wines will sell at a premium price.

The additional income accruing from these sales will enable the wineries to each hand over R50000 towards the costs of the special matinee performances for children.

Kentridge's spectacular set designs for The Magic Flute have won critical acclaim in Europe. The work, acclaimed as one of the greatest operas ever, has been performed for the past two years. Tickets are on sale at Computicket starting at R220.