World’s premier opera singing competition reaches final stages

World’s premier opera singing competition reaches final stages

More than 100 international singers from the USA, Europe, Russia, Asia, the UK and SA made it to the preliminary rounds of the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, which this for the first time ever is being held in Cape Town.
South African singers Lukhanyo Moyake, Mandla Mndebele, Siphamandla Yakupa, Goitsemang Lehobye, Caroline Nkwe, Mandisinde Mbuyazwe, Khumbuzile Dhlamini, Noluvuyiso Mpofu, Bongiwe Nakani and Thato Machona are among the 48 contestants who made it through the qualifying rounds to the semi-finals, which concludes at the Baxter Theatre Centre on Thursday, June 30. The names of the 12 to 15 finalists will be announced between 5pm and 6pm on the day.

They will go on to compete in the final round of the competition at the Artscape Opera house on Saturday, July 2, at 6pm, and will be accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Kamal Khan. The gala will be directed by Cape Town Opera’s Christine Crouse. (Those unfortunate not to get tickets for this renowned competition can stream live on www.capetownconcerthall.com.)
Kamal Khan says the fact that the Belvedere finals are being held outside Europe for the first time “shows that we are a country to be reckoned with”.

Several South African singers from Pretty Yende to Levy Sekgapane, Siyabulela Ntlale and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi have achieved international fame, as have other winners such as Angela Gheorgiu.
What’s it like competing in such a prestigious competition? The stress; the nerves; the exhilaration; the backstage intrigue…all of it must be nail bitingly intense.
“Belvedere was my first international competition. I was very excited to be in Amsterdam last year and what made it more special was that I was with my fellow SA colleagues and friends. Although when the days of the auditions came I was nervous, but we all supported each other and that made it a easy not to feel intimidated by other wonderful singers from around the world,” Noluvuyiso Mpofu told the Next 48hOURS in the lead up to this year’s competition.

“Being in the finals was just amazing and thrilling for all of us who were chosen and I remember backstage I told myself, ‘Ok you can do this; you’ve worked hard and everyone back home is listening and supporting you, so just relax and enjoy’,” adds the singer.
At the time of going to print, Mpofu was still in the running to repeat her finals appearance from last year.

* Tickets to the final competition can be booked at Computicket.