Opera stars, Sibongile Mngoma and Sandile Mabaso, to delight audiences in Joburg

Sibongile Mngoma

Sibongile Mngoma.

TWO of the shining lights of the South African opera scene – Sibongile Mngoma (soprano) and Sandile Mabaso (tenor) –  will be performing in the main hall of the National School of the Arts in Braamfontein, Johannesburg, at 7 pm on July 28.

The duo will be performing arias and duets from the world’s most beautiful operas. Sigongile will be singing arias from Puccini’s La Boheme and Tosca and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutti; while Sandile will be singing from Massenet’s Manon and Donizetti’s L’elisir d’Amour. They will be accompanied by Marten van Wyk on piano.

Tickets for the Opera Duo concert are R120 (concessions R80) at http://www.webtickets.co.za. Proceeds from this concert will be used to upgrade the music department.

Sibongile started her opera training at the South African College of Music in 1993, under the tutelage and mentorship of Professor Angelo Gobbato and Sarita Stern. She furthered her musical studies at the prestigious Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna (Italy), where she did a specialist course for advanced singers.

Sibongile has been taught by some of the world’s premier opera divas; including Shirley Verritt (America), Mirella Freni (Italy), and Jessye Norman (America). The work with Ms Norman was part of the prize for being the runner-up in the Rolex Mentor/Protégé Programme for 2004.

In 2015 she sang the role Winnie Mandela in world premier of Sibusiso Njeza’s production of Madiba An African Opera at the State Theatre; and in 2012 Sibongile took part in the critically aclaimed tour of Porgy and Bess (singing the role of Bess) in the United Kingdom.

Her other opera roles include Zandile in Temming’s Enoch Prophet of God, First Boy in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, Clara and more recently Bess in Gershwin’s Porgy & Bess, Mimi in Puccini’s La Boheme, Zerlina and later Donna Elvira in Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Countess Almavira in Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Michaela in Bizet’s Carmen, The Voice in Breytebach’s Johnny Cockroach, Arbace in Bach’s Catone in Utica (sang on the CD recording which is distributed internationally), Didon in Puccini’s Didon (sang on CD recording also distributed internationally), Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneus, Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, The first Lady and Queen Silomo in Khumalo’s Princess Magogo.

She has also sung in light musicals like Woza! A Celebration of South African Musicals (which was her brainchild), Nkosi the Healing Song, Johnny Cockroach, Andrew Lloyd Webber in Concer, and Rodger’s and Hammerstein in Concert.

On the popular music front, she has been heard in extravaganzas like Skouspel, Afrikiti, Starlight Pops, Bravo China in collaboration with the Chinese government, the Last Night at the Proms and Two Nations Celebrate in London, singing for Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth II.

Sibongile produced her debut album A Glimmer of Hope in 2004, which was nominated for two South African Music Awards. She is about to release her second album which is also self produced. She also recorded a DVD of her production Opera meets Jazz, which has received standing ovations from audiences abroad and here at home.

Sibongile was the 2014 recipient of the Mbokodo award for Opera

Sandile Mabaso

Sandile Mabaso.

Sandile is a tenor from KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, who began his musical training at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, under the direction of Christian Ashley-Botha.

In 2005 he obtained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Pretoria. While a student he sang the roles of Tamino in The Magic Flute (Mozart) and Alfredo in Die Fledermaus (Strauss).

Sandile had his first professional engagement in 2006 singing the role of Inkos’ Mathole in Opera Africa’s touring production of Princess Magogo (Khumalo). He toured South Africa and The Netherlands with this production.

From 2006 to 2007 he was a member of the Cape Town Opera Vocal Ensemble where he toured to Germany, France and Sweden in the productions of Showboat (Kern) and Porgy and Bess (Gershwin).

In 2009 Sandile began studying with Prof. Werner Nel and was selected to participate in The International Baroque Symposium, held at the North West University, under the leadership of Kobie van Rensburg. In 2010 he sang the role of Acis in Acis and Galatea (Handel) also under the direction of Kobie van Rensburg. In 2012 he sang the role of Puck in The Fairy Queen (Purcell) for Umculo Cape Festival.

In 2013 he was a finalist in the Mimi Coertse Singing Competition and in 2014 he made his solo debut with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The German art-song has been Sandile’s main focus, along with his operatic endeavours. In 2012 he was invited to perform Dichterliebe (Schumann) at UNISA’s annual An die Musik recital. He has also presented this work at the Wakkerstroom Arts Festival and the Tatham Art Gallery in Pietermaritzburg.

In 2013 he presented Brahms’ LiebesliederWalzer, opus 52 & 65 at the Odeion, Bloemfontein; in 2014, he sang On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan-Williams) in Pretoria; and in 2015 he sang Die schone Mullerin in Stellenbosch.

Last year Sandile toured a programme of Baroque music with harpsichordist, Andrew Cruickshank along South Africa’s garden route.


The National School of the Arts situated in Braamfontein, Johannesburg’s cultural precinct. It is the leading school which offers music, drama, dance and visual arts. The National School of the Arts is a historically and culturally rich high school that was born out of the amalgamation of The Johannesburg Art, Ballet, Drama and Music School and Hoërskool Die Kruin which were opened in 1969.






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