The best new South African opera talent to be showcased in KwaZulu-Natal

Hear the brightest South African opera talent in Pietermaritzburg and Pinetown this weekend! South African diva, Sibongile Mngoma (soprano) and tenor, Sandile Mabaso will be presenting an opera recital at the Pinetown Methodist Church on 18 March at 7pm and at the Tatham Art Gallery on 19 March at 3pm.

These shining lights of the national opera scene will be will be performing arias, duets and choruses from the world’s most beautiful operas.

Mngoma will be singing arias from Puccini’s La Boheme and Tosca and Mabaso will be singing from Massenet’s Manon and Donizzeti’s L’elisir d’Amour.

They will be joined by the Vusisizwe Choral Society, from KwaNdengezi, Pinetown, who will be performing famous opera choruses from Don Pascuale and Cosi fan Tutti.

The singers will be accompanied on the piano by brilliant Midlands pianist, Lara Kirsten.

In 1993 Sibongile Mngoma started her opera training at the South African College of Music, under the tutelage and mentorship of Professor Angelo Gobbato and Sarita Stern.

She has since had the opportunity to further her musical studies at the prestigious Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna (Italy), where she did a specialist course for advanced singers.

Mngoma 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 Norman was part of the prize for being the runner-up in the Rolex Mentor/Protégé Programme for 2004.

In 2015 Mngoma 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 she took part in the critically acclaimed tour of Porgy and Bess (singing the role of Bess) in the United Kingdom.

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, Didon in Piccini’s Didon, Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneus, Idamante in Mozart’s Idomeneo, and The first Lady and Queen Silomo in Khumalo’s Princess Magogo.

Mgoma has sung at the Royal Albert hall, the Royal Concert hall and the Colliseum in London, opera houses in Bari and Milan in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Cannes, Munich, Rome and all the major opera houses and venues in South Africa.

She has also performed with all the major orchestras in South Africa including children’s orchestras.

Mngoma, the 2014 recipient of the Mbokodo Award for Opera, composes and arranges music; as a result she produced her debut album called 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.

Sandile Mabaso is a tenor from KwaZulu-Natal, 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), Alfredo in Die Fledermaus (Strauss). He had his first professional engagement in 2006 singing the role of Inkos’ Mathole in Opera Africa’s touring production of Princess Magogo (Khumalo).

From 2006-2007 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 he 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 sung the role of Acis in Acis and Galatea (Handel) also under the direction of Kobie van Rensburg. In 2012 he has sung 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. In 2014 he made his solo debut with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The German art-song has been his 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, Tatham Art Gallery.

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

In 2015, he toured a programme of Baroque music with harpsichordist, Andrew Cruickshank along South Africa’s garden route.

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