A
 
Web www.artsmart.co.za
A R T S M A R T
arts news from kwazulu-natal

music
www.artsmart.co.za
enquiries@artsmart.co.za
 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
 

NB: as of 23 September 2008, all new artSMart articles are being published on the site news.artsmart.co.za.

THRENODY AND DANCES (article first published : 2002-08-3)

It’s a rare privilege for a soprano to have an opera written particularly for her. Apart from the honour and prestige attached to the association, it means that the composer has created his work with particular regard to her voice and abilities, stretching her talents to an exciting fulfilment.

A Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Music, Bongani Ndodana created Threnody and Dances for Soprano and Four Cellos for Durban opera singer Linda Bukhosini. Having its premiere at the Courtyard Theatre in Durban this week, the music is beautiful and Linda copes with some very complicated sequences with aplomb and a sure control.

A “threnody” is described in the Concise Oxford Dictionary as a “(song of) lamentation esp. on person’s death”. The opera deals with the painful process of the distraught and demented Nomzamo as her damaged mind remembers the pain and suffering caused by the loss of a child and her exposure to political violence.

Linda Bukhosini portrays this character sympathetically, keeping within the bounds of credibility where the subject matter is a hard-hitting litany of anguish and heartbreak.

Juan Burgers is a sensitive and supportive conductor. Bongani Ndodana’s music is soaring and moving, introducing African rhythms and sounds without losing an operatic style which will be accessible to opera lovers all over the world. The four cellists are KZN Philharmonic members Boris Kerimov, Kristiyan Chernev, Dalinonga Tshangela and Nina Sugden, supported by Thabani Sibisi on drums and traditional Zulu horn solo.

The opera includes three dancers. Siwela Sonke members, the supple and eloquent Neliswa Rushualang and Ntombikayise Gasa with her warm and gracious power have created the choreography between them. Young, lithe and feather-light Nondumiso Tembe (Linda Bukhosini’s daughter) again proves her dramatic skills. They provide an added narrative texture through movement, many times creating beautiful and sensitive imagery to enhance the music.

Jerry Pooe has moulded the production into a vibrant and exciting work which remains truly African while following the often-restrictive dictates of opera. Andrew Verster’s designs, his attractive floorcloth and cleverly designed scaffolding with its layered banners add a further dimension of visual excitement. The white coat Linda Bukhosini first appears in is a glorious creation

My only problem with this ground-breaking production was the ritual cleansing scene. Apart from the fact that the tin bath and buckets were so incongruously new and shiny, it required Linda Bukhosini to sit for a fairly lengthy period with her back to the audience. After having shared her pain and emotional journey, I felt excluded from the process that would generate her soul’s rebirth.

Congratulations to all for proving that opera still has a life in Africa. Not only a life but a valued existence and I look forward to many more stories told in this mould. – Caroline Smart.




 A current news
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
letters to the editor
home page
archives A
crafts - dance - drama - film & tv - literature
music - supper theatre - visual arts
miscellaneous news - festivals
a co-production by caroline smart services and .durbanet. site credits
copyright © subsists in this page. all rights reserved. [ edit ] copyright details  artsmart