Monday 6 July 2015

University of Cape Town Opera School in London

Running from 6 July to 11 July 2015 at the Tricycle Theatre, the Darling Musical Experience is presenting a 90 minute version of Mozart's Don Giovanni adapted for the South Africa of today, directed by Raimondo Viviano van Staden with text adaptation by Alexander Kuchinka. Many of the singers come from the University of Cape Town's Opera School and on Thursday 2 July 2015 we received something of a preview of the event when students from the school gave a fund-raising gala in London.

Dr Lisa Engelbrecht introduced the work of the opera department, some of whose alumni include Pumeza Matshikiza and Pretty Yende, and then Dr Englebrecht accompanied five of the current batch of students in an attractive selection of arias from Mozart's Don Giovanni and Le Nozze di Figaro, and music by Verdi, Struass, Delibes, Rossini, Richard Strauss, Bellini, and Offenbach, finishing with Mzilikazi Khumalo's opera Princess Magogo and a medley from the musical Man of La Mancha.

 There were five singers in all, sopranos Maudee Montierre, Goitsemang Lehobye and Amanda Meke, baritone Johannes Slabbert and bass-baritone Martin Mkhize.

Maudee Montierre sang Donna Anna's Non mi dir, Amanda Meka sang Zerlina's Batti Batti and Amanda joined Johannes Slabbert for Zerlina and Don Giovanni's duet La ci darem la mano, all from Don Giovanni. Martin Mkhize sang Figaro's Se vuol ballare from Le Nozze di Figaro.

Goitsemang sang Amelia's Come in quest'ora bruna from Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, and the Czardas from Johann Strauss's Die Fledermaus. Maudee and Amanda sang the flower duet from Delibes' Lakme. Maudee, Amanda and Goitsemang sang the trio from Richard Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, and a trio from Mzilikazi Khumalo's opera Princess Magogo.

Johannes sang Einst traumte mir from Johann Strauss's Fursten Ninetta, Martin sang Resta immobile from Rossini's Guillaume Tell and both joined together for the duet Suoni la tromba from Bellini's I Puritani. Johannes and Amanda sang the fly duet from Offenbach's Orpheus in the Underworld.

The evening finished with all five singers joining for the Impossible Dream medley from Man of La Mancha.

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