By Naushad Khan
As South Africans we seem to dwell on the all the negatives in our country and ignore the reasons why we all call this our home. A country is made up of its people and their cultures, the mixing of these and the sharing of experiences. Friendships, relationships, families and nations take their roots from this pot.
Attending Cape Town Opera’s season opening African Angels brought all of this home for me in the opening few minutes. Seeing these eighteen bright smiling faces on the Artscape Opera House stage takes the performing arts in our country to another level.
This is the same chorus that was awarded the “Best Chorus in the World” award in 2013 and they were home to perform for us. As they opened with Verdi’s ‘Anvil Chorus’ from ‘Il Trovatore’ their magic captured the audience for the next two hours and beyond. I am convinced that many were still humming some of the songs on their way home, just like ‘Weeping’ has been stuck in my head all week.
Young Chorus Master Marvin Kernelle must be thrilled with his team of stars as they kept the audience wanting more after each song, and what a selection it was. With their renditions of songs from ‘Lucia di Lammermoor’, ‘Porgy and Bess’, ‘Mandela Trilogy’ to African traditionals and even a few spiritual songs, African Angels delivered a world class performance to a wildly appreciative audience.
Cape Town Opera’s production of ‘Porgy and Bess’ has graced the stages of some of the best opera houses in the world and has been celebrated wherever it has been showcased. The special selection from this Gershwin Opera in the second half included everyone’s favourites ‘Summertime’, ‘My Man’s gone now’ and ‘I got plent O’ nuttin’. ‘Oh Lawd, I’m on my way’ especially was a treat for this full house and evidence enough of why “OUR” Proudly SA version of this all time classic is so highly regarded. Bravo to all at CTO who make us proud.
It is sad that we always place high value on visiting artists and yet our very own who enjoy star status abroad seem to play second fiddle at home. It is time we acknowledge and accept that we have the talent to share the global stage and we have the awards and T-shirt to prove it.
For those of you who joined me and the rest of the full house on opening night, the 15 minute standing ovation said it all. BRAVO.