Operatic feast for people who love this classical art

Edward Tsumele

Edward Tsumele

Those people who appreciate and love opera have a very good reason to smile because a great operatic experience awaits them in less than two weeks.

The Joburg Promusica Theatre in Florida Park is commencing its 2009 classical programme with an exciting, celebratory Opera Gala on February 15 at 6.30pm.

Sponsored by the Gauteng department of sport, arts, culture and recreation, the gala concert marks the establishment of an ongoing relationship between Joburg Promusica and the Gauteng legislature.

The Opera Gala will be conducted by Graham Scott, who is well established in the genre of musical theatre having conducted more than 75 seasons over the past thirty years. Regarded as the finest musical director of his generation, Scott holds a Nederburg Opera Prize, five Vita Awards, a Gold Loerie Award and two Durban Theatre Awards for Best Musical Direction. He has served as an advisory member of the National Arts Council and is on the boards of the Johannesburg Music Initiative and STTEP, an orchestral development project in Pretoria.

The Opera Gala includes exquisite performances of some popular and some rarely-heard pieces that will make for a spectacular night.

One of the most interesting operas will be Guillotine Scene from Dialogue des Carmelites which will be recreated to add dramatic emphasis to the musical extract, as well as to make this concert different and stimulating.

Two other very interesting items will be a piece dedicated to Mahatma Gandhi and the Zulu Mass, which is a beautiful Catholic mass, operatic in scale and performed by the very talented Queue Sibisi.

There will also be performances by four top soloists.

Soprano Antoinette Olivier, who performed at the world premiere of Hendrik Hofmeyer's Song Cycle for Soprano and Orchestra in 1999, is expected to be spectacular.

Top soloist Nonhlanhla Yende, a member of the Gauteng Choristers and The Black Tie Opera, will also be part of the night's programme. Yende, who is a mezzo-soprano, was a member of the chorus in the 2008 Opera Africa production of Aida and was also selected as soloist at the 20th anniversary Massed Choir Festival. She is sure to delight audiences.

Stefan Louw is recognised as a leading tenor. His love for music was instilled at an early age and after completing his studies, he joined the Pretoria State Theatre Opera Chorus.

Classical singer Otto Maidi began singing at the young age of eight. He moved to the US where he obtained his artist certificate degree in vocal performance.

This Gala Concert promises opera lovers nothing less than an electrifying, moving, exhilarating and heart-rending experience.