2020 / 2021 SUMMER SEASON AT A GLANCE
Ann Susman Charitable Trust
Philip Schock Foundation
SA & UK Patrons
Rolf Stephan Nussbaum Foundation
QUOIN ROCK CONCERT
Quoin Rock Wine Estate, Stellenbosch *
Cape Town Opera partners with one of the Cape’s premium wine estates for a festive gathering at Quoin Rock in Stellenbosch. Canapés and bubbly will be served prior to an hour-long programme of much-loved, melodious music from Italy, Russia, America and South Africa.
Performing with pianist José Dias are well-known baritone Conroy Scott, as well as soprano Brittany Smith, mezzo-soprano Ané Pretorius and tenor Nkululeko Mqobongo.
In a programme of firm favourites, highlights will include ‘Près des remparts de Seville’ from Bizet’s Carmen; Gilda’s aria ‘Caro nome’ from Verdi’s Rigoletto; Rachmaninoff’s ‘Vesennije vody’; and ‘If I loved you’ and ‘You’ll never walk alone’ from Carousel.
Presented in collaboration with Quoin Rock wine estate.
* Canapés and bubbly 4–5:45pm, concert 6–7pm.
This concert is proudly sponsored by The Lord & Lady Lurgan Trust, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Western Cape Government DCAS, City of Cape Town, Kirsh Foundation, Judith Neilson Head Trust
AMERICAN SONGBOOK: BEACH, BARBER, BERNSTEIN AND BOLCOM
Cape Town Opera celebrates the work of great American composers: Samuel Barber, Leonard Bernstein and William Bolcom are recognised for the genius of their respective songwriting careers and for their remarkable output in an array of musical idioms. Amy Beach, meanwhile, was a prolific composer who – despite relative obscurity – was in fact the first female American to receive serious and widespread recognition for her work.
Born in 1847, Amy Marcy Beach was a piano prodigy who made her Boston concert debut when she was 16; she took to composing after marrying, producing symphonies, piano concertos, large-scale orchestral works, festival music, and over 150 songs. Her rather grand, sentimental Romantic music was performed widely as part of the early-20th-century concert repertory, although she has been largely neglected since her death in 1944, and her work has only recently been rediscovered and revived.
Barber (1910–1981) was a Pennsylvanian who composed widely for stage, orchestral, chamber, piano, choral and vocal idioms – his reputation was for unflinching adherence to a personal voice, stubborn devotion to classical style, and a distaste for experimental movements of the day. By the middle of the century he was among the most frequently performed composers in Europe and the US. His lyrical style and expressive voice never left him, nor his instinct for graceful proportion and an affinity for Romantic emotion.
Known for his flamboyant style as a conductor, and his larger-than-life personality, Bernstein (1918–1990) might well be America’s ultimate all-round 20th-century musical superstar. He left an indelible impression not only on classical music but also on popular culture. Having first drawn acclaim as an electrifying conductor, his compositions have been cemented in memory across a spectrum of genres – from operetta (Candide), to film scores (Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront), to musicals, including the eternally popular West Side Story (1957).
Like Barber, Bolcom (born 1938) is a recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. He is considered an icon of American eclecticism, composing in multiple musical genres – operas, symphonies, concertos, sonatas and songs for cabaret. He also won a Grammy Award – for Songs of Innocence and of Experience. The culmination of 25 years spent working on the piece, his setting of 46 William Blake poems for solo voice and piano, orchestra, and chorus is considered a groundbreaking achievement in contemporary classical music.
Cape Town Opera presents this celebration of American greats, under the musical direction of José Dias and with the voices of soloists Brittany Smith, Ané Pretorius, Nkululeko Mqobongo and special guest William Berger.
* Concert at 7:30pm.
Sponsored by The Lord & Lady Lurgan Trust, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Western Cape Government DCAS, Kirsh Foundation, Judith Neilson Head Trust
VESPRO DELLA BEATA VERGINE
St George’s Cathedral, Wale street, Cape Town
25 & 26 FEBRUARY
Composed in 1610 and today considered among the high points of the religious repertory, Monteverdi’s Vespers of the Blessed Virgin displays a level of theatricality and ambition which is unmatched in sacred music of the era. The demanding nature of the piece – 90 minutes of flamboyant music for large forces – means that it is seldom performed.
Composed in praise of the Holy Virgin, Monteverdi dedicated the work to Pope Paul V, probably intending the work as an elaborate ‘audition’. Unhappy in his post in Mantua, he was hoping for a better position at a church in Venice or Rome; such a remarkable composition suggested his capability.
In its day, the scale of it – thirteen movements with a libretto compiled from various liturgical and Latin Biblical texts – was unprecedented, hugely demanding of its seven solo singers and requiring a vast chorus capable of dividing into as many as ten parts.
Rising to the challenge, the Cape Town Opera Chorus is joined by the Tygerberg Children’s Choir under chorus masters Marvin Kernelle and Kariena Erasmus. Camerata Tinta Barocca, South Africa’s only period-instrument orchestra will perform under the baton of Erik Dippenaar.
Adding to the wonder of the work is that it lends itself to spatial acoustic effects, achieved by having singers placed in different parts of the cathedral. Soloists for this performance include Elsabé Richter, Brittany Smith, Siphokazi Molteno, Jason Atherton and William Berger.
Concert at 7:30pm
Presented in association Camerata Tinta Barocca and St George’s cathedral, Cape Town
The Lorenzo and Stella Chiappini Charitable Trust, The Lord & Lady Lurgan Trust, Mauerberger Foundation, Philip Schock Foundation, SA & UK Patrons, Rolf Stephan Nussbaum Foundation, Sigrid Rausing Trust, Western Cape Government DCAS, Ann Susman Charitable Trust, DUET trust, Kirsh Foundation, Judith Neilson Head Trust
CURLEW RIVER AND
Wed 20th May - 19h30
(Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Kenilworth)
Thurs 21st May - 19h30
(Novalis Ubuntu Institute in Kenilworth)
Sat 23rd May - 18h00
(Guga S’thebe Centre in Langa)
Asanda Chuma Sopotela
New operas are often inspired by an intense personal relationship to universal ideas. Benjamin Britten’s Curlew River, based on a Japanese noh play about a mother’s loss of a child and her redemption through spirituality, is paired with a new South African opera about women’s strength through ordeal, composed by Sibusiso Njeza and written by Asanda Chuma Sopotela. These two operas, sung in English and isiXhosa, are ideal platforms for young African opera soloists from the University of Cape Town Opera School and Cape Town Opera Young Artists Programme to explore contemporary themes and musical styles of the 20th and 21st centuries.
TICKET PRICES: R80
BOOK THROUGH CAPE TOWN OPERA OFFICE
IN COLLABORATION WITH THE UNIVERSITY OF CAPE TOWN OPERA SCHOOL
Sponsored by the City of Cape Town, the Rupert Music Foundation, the African Culture Fund