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Isango Ensemble to Bring Britten's MIDSUMMER Opera to The New Victory Theater

Magic, mischief and music collide to mesmerizing effect when Isango Ensemble's Off-Broadway premiere of A Midsummer Night's Dream: Iphupha lobusuku be-Ntwasahlobo comes to the stage at The New Victory Theater from October 30 - November 8. After a sold-out run of The Magic Flute: Impempe Yomlingo last season, Cape Town's acclaimed opera company returns to the New Vic for a limited engagement of their newest production with the generous support of official Presentation Partner South African Tourism.

In this spellbinding staging of Benjamin Britten's ethereal opera A Midsummer Night's Dream, the commanding artists of Isango Ensemble lift up their voices to weave African folklore into Shakespeare's most celebrated comedy. Exhilarating orchestrations of marimbas, djembes and ululation resound with South Africa's rich choral traditions when Britten's composition is reinvigorated with rousing percussive rhythms arranged by Mandisi Dyantyis and Pauline Malefane. Using traditional South African instruments, as well as others fashioned by hand from found objects such as glass bottles and metal oil barrels, every performer of the 25-member cast sings, acts and drums. Directed and adapted by Mark Dornford-May, this deliciously romantic tale of enchantment, intrigue and true love is sung in English with dialogue in a mix of English and some of South Africa's other official languages, including Zulu, Tswana and the company's native Xhosa.

Pauline Malefane, who portrayed the Queen of the Night in the company's production of The Magic Flute, returns to the New Vic stage as Tytania. Prior to appearing in The Magic Flute, winner of the 2008 Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival and a Globe de Cristal for Best Opera, Malefane performed the mezzo-soprano title role in Isango's production of U-Carmen. Having made her Proms debut at London's Royal Albert Hall with the songs of Kurt Weill in 2006, Malefane's incredible talent has garnered worldwide attention.

A Midsummer Night's Dream: Iphupha lobusuku be-Ntwasahlobo had its South African premiere on September 23, 2015 and features the music of Benjamin Britten arranged for South African instruments by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis, who also conducts. Choreography is by Lungelo Ngamlana and costumes are by Leigh Bishop. In addition to Pauline Malefane as Tytania, the cast includes Noluthando Boqwana, Mandisi Dyantyis, Thobile Dyasi, Ayanda Eleki, Zamile Gantana, Nontsusa Louw, Sifiso Lupuzi, Bongiwe Mapassa, Zanele Mbatha, Siyasanga Mbuyazwe, Sinethemba Mdena, Valencia Mgugunyeka, Sandile Mgugunyeka, Katlego Mmusi, Mhlekazi (WhaWha) Mosiea, Zoleka Mpotsha, Siyanda Ncobo, Busisiwe Ngejane, Zolina Ngejane, Sonwabo Ntshata, John Page, Tukela Pepeteka, Luvo Rasemeni, Maris Sharp, Masakane Sotayisi and Ayanda Tikolo.




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