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OPERA SCHOOL (article first published : 2003-06-16)

With the recent completion of major building alterations to the Jubilee Centre, the University’s Opera School and Choral Academy is starting life in the most conducive surroundings.

The redesign of the building – which has seen phase one completed – has created a two-storey facility with a theatre on the upper level and the training school below. The theatre’s seating capacity is 235 and the lower level comprises rehearsal, practice and teaching rooms and a reception area.

From the road, Jubilee Centre - or “Jubes” as it is generally known – little appears to have changed. However architect Dennis Claude, who was for many years a senior lecturer at the University’s School of Architecture, has ingeniously remodeled the interior and east side of this under-utilised building.

Where possible, original spaces and finishes have been retained, and a conscious recycling of materials is also a feature. But much of this former dining-hall complex is unrecognisable. Acoustic adaptations are everywhere observable, and its rooms now ring with the sound of singing.

More details from Professor David Smith: Head, Opera and Choral Studies Music Programme, University of Natal (Durban), on 031 260 1352 or fax 031 260 1048.




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