Cape Town Opera Announces 2016 Season, Including SALOME, THE MAGIC FLUTE and CARMEN

Cape Town Opera Announces 2016 Season, Including SALOME, THE MAGIC FLUTE and CARMEN
The 2016 Cape Town Opera season

Cape Town Opera hopes to provide a feast for opera lovers with its 2016 season, which was recently announced in the Mother City. The company's young international opera stars have joined forces with a new team of award-winning creative minds to make next year a memorable one for grand opera.

First on stage at the Artscape Opera House is the scandalously opulent Richard Strauss setting of Oscar Wilde's play, SALOME, which has lost none of its power to shock and seduce since its 1905 debut. Cape Town Opera's artistic director, Matthew Wild, will open the 2016 season on 15 March with his new production, which features with designs by Conor Murphy, Michael Mitchell and Kobus Rossouw. Gérard Korsten, will return to South Africa from Europe to lead the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra through the virtuosic score, with Allison Oakes, a British dramatic soprano, starring as the depraved teenage princess who demands the head of John the Baptist on a silver platter. Allan Glassman, an American tenor, will make his debut with Cape Town Opera as Salome's lecherous stepfather Herod, with local favourites Violina Anguelov and Lukhanyo Moyake appearing as Herodias and Narraboth.

A rare opportunity to hear two of South Africa's greatest stars in concert on home soil will take place on Human Rights Day, 21 March. Pretty Yende and Sunnyboy Dladla will appear in the annual Duet Gala Concert in the Opera House at Artscape. Programme highlights will include the bel canto masterpieces which have brought the singers international acclaim, with the singers accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of a key figure in their studies, Professor Kamal Khan. Hailing from the same high school in Piet Retief and now in demand at the world's most prestigious opera houses, Yende and Dladla are at the forefront of the new generation of outstanding South African singers who are taking the international opera world by storm. This one-night-only gala will highlight the Duet Endowment Trust, a fund established under the patronage of Wendy Ackerman to ensure the longevity of the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Town Opera.?

Cape Town Opera, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, the University of Cape Town and Artscape Theatre Centre will be the proud hosts of the prestigious International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in the Opera House at Artscape on 2 of July. The competition a prominent springboard for young singers into a career in opera. The competition in Cape Town marks the very first time this prestigious event will be held outside of Europe. The competition brings singers, their agents, their families, representatives of international opera houses and international media to the hosting city. With qualifying rounds in more than 65 cities worldwide, the competition attracts over 1300 entrants. Opera and casting directors of internationally renowned opera houses like the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in London, Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona, The Metropolitan Opera in New York and Deutsche Oper Berlin serve as jury members for the finals. Four South Africans reached the final round in July this year, with Levy Sekgapane going on to win the first prize. The acclaimed South African soprano, Pretty Yende, won the 2009 competition, with Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi and Siyabulela Ntlale placing second in 2013 and 2014 respectively.

Professor Kamal Khan and Matthew Wild will next turn their attention to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's mysterious and magical masterpiece, THE MAGIC FLUTE, which opens at the Baxter Theatre Centre on 27 September. The profound clarity of Mozart's writing is never more affecting than when performed by beautiful youthful voices. For this production, the best talents of the University of Cape Town Opera school will perform alongside Cape Town Opera Studio singers, including Johannes Slabbert and Noluvuyiso Mpofu.

Michael Williams's staging of Georges Bizet's CARMEN will open on 20 October in the Opera House at Artscape. This production played to sell-out success in 2011 and is being revived as the second instalment of the Naspers Grand Opera Master Series. Michael Mitchell's atmospheric designs will conjure up a hot and sultry Seville, and the large cast is augmented with a company of flamenco dancers, executing choreography created by the late Carolyn Holden. Cape Town Opera's associate music director, Tim Murray, will conduct the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, with an augmented Cape Town Opera chorus giving full-bodied voice to Bizet's great melodies, and a cast of international soloists performing alongside Cape Town Opera Staff and Studio singers.

Award-winning director and designer Jaco Bouwer will make his Cape Town Opera debut with Claudio Monteverdi's haunting opera, ORFEO, which traces Orpheus' descent into darkness as he searches the underworld for his departed wife, Euridice. Opening on 19 November in the Artscape Theatre, the production will be created with collaborators Magdalene Minnaar, Ina Wichterich and Wolf Britz. Kamal Khan will lead a cast of young singers from Cape Town opera and the University of Cape Town Opera School through Monteverdi's achingly beautiful score, accompanied by the baroque instrumental ensemble, Camerata Tinta Barocca.

Taking Cape Town Opera productions to the world has become a significant component of the company. In 2016, the company's production of LOST IN THE STARS will be staged at the Kennedy Centre in Washington D.C.; AFRICAN ANGELS will be performed in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden and France; AFRICAN PROPHETESS in Sweden; MANDELA TRILOGY in Italy, the UK and Ireland; MUSIQUES SACREES D'AFRIQUE ET D'EUROPE in France; and PORGY AND BESS in Buenos Aires.

Cape Town Opera 2016 Opera Season Tickets, which include tickets to the once-off Pretty Yende and Sunnyboy Dladla gala concert as well as guaranteed top tier tickets to each of the local productions, cost R1250, with a concession price of R750 for under 30s. 2016 Season Tickets can be reserved by emailing Cape Town Opera.

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