Opera UCT’s Season Launch a Singing Success – World Premiere on the Diary for 2024


Opera UCT’s Season Launch a Singing Success – World Premiere on the Diary for 2024

A sold-out Baxter theatre underlined opera’s importance as a time-honoured medium for learning life lessons, pure escapism, and entertainment, and solidified Opera UCT’s eminence as a world-class production house and school.

Opera UCT’s 2024 season launch last night presented a varied programme that heralds a year ahead full of world firsts, international collaborations, and exciting competitions, all set to continue South Africa’s oldest opera performing and training institution’s reputation as the harbour and source for some of the most respected and successful operatic performers in the world today.

To a packed Baxter theatre, Opera UCT’s director, pianist and conductor, Professor Jeremy Silver, led a line-up of performances that clearly demonstrated the breadth and depth of talent the school has on tap.  It also showed just why it was that Silver re-branded and re-launched the school’s professional-level performance company as a production house in 2023 – now known as Opera UCT.

Professor Silver remarked “As an integral part of Humanities at UCT, our training programme has grown each year to respond to ever-evolving trends in the international operatic world.  Our activities provide our young singers the experience with which they can confidently stand shoulder-to-shoulder with their international counterparts when they finally venture forth after their years with us.

“Our activities also provide Cape Town’s arts scene with world-class operatic performances of which we can all be proud, and I am delighted that Opera UCT’s international status has ensured that this year, we have been chosen as the production partner for some important and seminal works, which we look forward to sharing with audiences of all ages.”

Opera UCT’s proposed calendar will appeal to established opera lovers and those still exploring the genre, with a programme that is the perfect musical and lyrical antidote to much of life’s everyday stresses.  Pure escapism. 

World-Class and World-First

Aside from exceptional performances, last night’s concert also provided the platform for a series of exciting announcements including the news that Opera UCT has been selected to stage the world premiere of an important and hitherto lost opera, Donizetti’s Dalinda, a production that will be led by Italian director, William Costabile Cisco, and costume design by Letiticia Parvoleta Ivanova. This will take place in early September.

Silver says: “This is a great honour for Opera UCT and South Africa and is also an exceptional opportunity for our young singers, as the eyes of the art world will be upon us when we stage this production in September, which is the cornerstone of our 2024 season.”

On the cards for later in the year – November – Silver teased the audience with hints of a fully staged production under the inspiring creative direction of a conductor and director from the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, as to a new Distinguished Alumni Recital Series that will take place during the season ahead.

In addition to the core academic programme that has ensured graduates are welcomed the world over, Opera UCT will host a series of masterclasses, competitions, and international residencies, which contribute to the school and production house’s international standing and success.

The 2024 diary also includes the third annual Aviva Pelham Operetta Competition and the FMR Bursary Award Classical Instrumental and Vocal Finals, a competition that celebrates the very best of classical, jazz, and African music thanks to the Rolf-Stephan Nussbaum Foundation.


Going places

The KT Wong Foundation has also established a new bursary programme for 2024, which assists aspiring graduate artists as they establish their professional careers.  The first recipient of this generous bursary is Opera UCT tenor, Luvo Maranti, who was also a finalist in Plácido Domingo’s Operalia competition held in Cape Town in 2023.

Also, and yet more exciting news, is the announcement that UCT student soprano Molly Dzangare has been awarded an Eva Kleinitz Opera Europa Scholarship, having been selected from more than 500 global applicants.

Three book launches, and a further new addition to the line-up, are also planned for 2024, (see below for details), and in April, following a packed March programme that includes several free concerts, Opera UCT will stage a large-scale performance complete with the UCT Symphony Orchestra, of a concert entitled‘The Sound of Freedom’.

Opera UCT’s staging of productions is not only an opportunity for audiences to lose themselves in the musical mastery of storytelling but also a mechanism to generate funds.  These monies go towards ensuring students get valuable performance experience and help to bring international masters in opera and stage to South Africa to share their expertise with the school.

Donations and support can be channelled through the Opera Endowment Fund.


For more information as to what to earmark for the diary, please see: HERE


(Tickets for all evening concerts are available via Webtickets.)HERE



About Donizetti’s Dalinda:

6 – 8 September 2024

Donizetti’s Dalinda is a masterwork of Donizetti and was his re-imagining of another one of his great works, Lucrezia Borgia. As was common in 19th century Italy, both works faced repeated rejections by the censors in Naples, and in the process the manuscript of Dalinda was lost. Due to some slick detective work and the scholarship of modern editors, the work has just resurfaced and received its very first concert performance in Berlin last year.

About the Book Launches:

As an institution deeply rooted in both academia and performance, Opera UCT takes immense pride in presenting these illuminating works that traverse diverse realms of knowledge and creativity.

Dr Wayne Muller Opera in Cape Town: The Critic’s Voice

Dr Wayne Muller traces the trajectory of opera critics’ reviews and writings from the past to the present and initiates a conversation on the development of a distinctly South African operatic expression and aesthetic in the 21st century.

Dr Hilde Roos, Ferrol-Jon Davids, Dr Chris Walton: “SORRY. I AM WHAT I AM.”

The life and letters of the South African pianist and opera coach Gordon Jephtas (1943-92).

UCT alumnus, Gordon Jephtas, worked as an accompanist with the Eoan Group in Cape Town before moving to Europe in the 1960s and establishing an international reputation as a vocal coach of Italian opera. He worked with the biggest names in the opera world, from Renata Tebaldi to Plácido Domingo, Montserrat Caballé and Luciano Pavarotti.  He died in New York in 1992.

Magriet Stemmet South African Envoys of Opera

A treasure trove of biographical and artistic information about the many South African singers who have carved out important operatic careers internationally.

Sisa Mjekula, Mkhanyiseli Dyantyi, Luvo Maranti, Sandile Zitha, Theunis Jacobs

Carmen Traut, Onesimo Siyothula, Themba Mdlalose, Molly Dzangare, Nica Reinke, Ellen Pretorius, Lereko Motele

Performers from Opera UCT

Professor Jeremy Silver


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