Opera tribute to honour Madiba

WORLD icon Nelson Mandela is to be honoured again - this time through a tribute opera.

WORLD icon Nelson Mandela is to be honoured again - this time through a tribute opera.

Three young men have been cast to play the role of Mandela, and all of them are South Africans - a crucial factor given that South African actors have recently complained about not landing the Mandela role in movies.

Those selected are Thabang Phiri, Aubrey Lodewyk and Ntobeko Rwanqa. All will play Mandela during different stages of his life - from the time he was a herdboy in Transkei to the stage of him as a mature man.

Renowned exponent of African- themed operas Michael Williams is presently rehearsing this production, called African Songbook.

Apart from directing the tribute opera, he is also the librettist. He is assisted by Monde Masimini, a young man from Eastern Cape now living in Cape Town. Masimini is also Outreach Coordinator for Cape Town Opera.

The production is very unusual as three South African composers have been commissioned to write the music to three acts, each portraying various stages of Mandela's life. Act 1 is by Allan Stephenson on Mandela as a young man, Act 2 by Mike Campbell on Mandela's life in the Sophiatown era, and Act 3 by Roelof Temmingh on Mandela as a mature man.

Presented by Cape Town Opera and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra, the world-premiere is on June 17 at the Opera House in Artscape.

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