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STARLIGHT POP OPERA (article first published : 2001-06-5)

Rand Merchant Bank's Starlight Pop Opera concert on Sunday night was a winner! The weather was superb, the stars twinkled, the moon shone and audiences held their breath in wonderment at the final spectacular firework display. Although one couldn’t help thinking that with the KZN Philharmonic being as cash-strapped as it is, it could well have done with the money that went up in smoke with the fireworks.

Linda Bukhosini just sounds better and better and it’s a tragedy that there isn’t sufficient opera in South Africa to make use of her talents on a regular basis. The voice is stronger, more controlled and mature and has a much more forceful energy. Bongani Tembe was also in fine voice and the couple proved that they can pass on their talent when daughter Nondumiso Tembe took to the stage to sing I Know Him So Well with her mother.

Unfortunately only seen in one item, Lwazi Ncube and Nomthandazo Mkhize gave a good rendering of the Flower Duet from Lakmé but their growing expertise is evident and hopefully the next concert will feature them more extensively.

Crowd pleasers were, as always the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir, and there were notable performances from the soloists (names not mentioned in the programme).

The baton was shared by the Australian conductor, Gerald Krug, Lykele Temmingh and the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir’s Bunny Ashley-Botha. The orchestra sounded good and did justice to a varied programme which included favourite opera numbers and a mix of light classics.

Good news of the evening came from Doreen Nteta, CEO of the National Council, currently in Durban to handle the unenviable job of leading an investigating team into alleged problems at the Playhouse. On behalf of the Minister of Arts and Culture, she announced that Dr Ben Ngubane had asserted that his department would be allocating R3 million to the KZN Philharmonic this year.




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