2014 sees Cape Town Opera celebrating its fifteenth year as South Africa’s premiere opera company. From its home in South Africa to countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Israel, the United States and Australia, Cape Town Opera has thrilled audiences across the globe with the vibrant vocalism and high-octane stage performances they have become renowned for.
“Our survival would not have been possible without the support of our sponsors and especially the National Lotteries Distribution Trust fund, the audience, our talented singers and staff members,” says Michael Williams, Cape Town Opera’s Managing Director, reflecting on this young company’s history.
“Equally important are the valuable collaborations we’ve forged with international opera companies.
However we not only have to think more globally, we have to become more entrepreneurial in the way we run the company; it is after all a business, and that means balancing high quality with low overheads to survive.”
Not only is it the celebratory year for this esteemed opera company but also one of its busiest to date. Two concerts at the Artscape Opera House on May 2 and 3 by internationally acclaimed award-winning Welsh opera bass-baritone Bryn Terfel, who has performed in all the great opera houses of the world, is one of the biggest highlights of this anniversary year.
With a Grammy Award, a CBE and the Queen’s Medal for Music to his name, Terfel is one of the most sought-after opera singers in the world. Terfel will be accompanied by the Cape Town Opera chorus and the 70-strong voices of the Wales Millennium Centre’s Only Kids Aloud Chorus. Kamal Khan will conduct the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra. As part of this unique collaboration, the combined 120 voices will sing the world premiere of ‘Spirit of Unity’, a piece especially commissioned by Wales Millennium Centre, written by Dr Paul Mealor as a gift from the people of Wales to mark South Africa’s 20 years of Democracy. Terfel is currently co-starring opposite Emma Thompson in ‘Sweeney Todd’ at the Lincoln Centre in New York.
The ever-popular Kern/Hammerstein II’s ‘Show Boat’, opens at the Opera House at Artscape for four performances only from May 16 to 18 prior to the production’s tour to the United Kingdom from July 2 to August 2. Cape Town Opera’s production of ‘Show Boat’ has enjoyed several triumphant seasons since its South African premiere in 2005. This collaboration between Cape Town Opera and the Wales Millennium Centre features an all-South African cast accompanied by the 30-piece Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Albert Horne and Gareth Jones to theatres in Birmingham, Wales, Manchester and Dublin.
After May’s concerts Cape Town’s local season continues with the critically acclaimed zany comic opera ‘Il Viaggio A Reims’ (in collaboration with UCT Opera School) from August 26 to 30; ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ (Le Nozze di Figaro) is a maze of unexpected twists and turns, mistaken identities, disguises and deceptions on stage from October 18 to 26 and ending this exceptionally busy year with ‘Postcard from Morocco’ (in collaboration with UCT Opera School) from November 19 to 23.