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SALLY JUNE SILVER (article first published : 2004-11-16)

Former Durban soprano Sally June Silver is fast becoming an internationally-recognised exponent of contemporary operatic roles

She is currently working on final rehearsals for the Unity Gala celebrating the 10th anniversary of South Africa’s Freedom to be presented at the Barbican in London on November 16. The London Symphony Orchestra and the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestras will combine for the first time to present a thrilling programme of music.

The historic project will feature well-known Durban theatre personalities Linda Bukhosini and Bongani Tembe as soloists and actor Bheki Mkwane who appears as the narrator in the world premiere of Phelelane Mnomiya’s Zizi Lethu! Themba Lethu! (Our Hope).

Long-term Durban audiences will remember Sally for her numerous appearances in musical theatre and concerts, the most notable of which were Geoffrey Sutherland’s Queen series as well as Les Nuits d’Eté for the former Playhouse Dance Company. She left Durban in 1990 to move to Johannesburg where she worked before settling in the United Kingdom in 1998. She has worked with the English National Opera and has appeared in many concerts and productions of contemporary opera music in Europe.

She recently received rave reviews for her appearance as the Queen in Les Huguenots by Meyerbeer, a role made famous by the legendary diva Joan Sutherland. She also appeared in Powder her Face which is written by Tom Ardes who presented the contemporary version of The Tempest at Covent Garden.

She has performed in Punjabi with The Songs of Five Rivers with the BBC Symphony Orchestra which was broadcast live on Radio 3. The work was dedicated to her and as a result of this, the composer Naresh Sohal was commissioned to create a new work by the well-known Spitalfields Festival. While requiring Sally to work in Bengali, it also inspired her to think of its value on a wider scale!

“It’s a work I would love to do in South Africa,” she says. “It would work beautifully with the Soweto String Quartet.”

After the performance with the KZNPO and the LSO in London, Sally heads for Barcelona where she has been asked to take over a role at very short notice. She will be appearing in The Revelation of St John with the symphonic orchestra of Barcelona and has a mere three days to learn the part.

Now married to conductor Jeremy Silver with a young daughter, Sally is very excited about working with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra again. “I am thrilled - the KZNPO is like my own home orchestra. It is also wonderful working with Linda and Bongani again – we go way back to the days of the Opera Studio. I think the KZNPO is the most international orchestra in Africa and it is good to see that it accepts that the inclusion of contemporary works in the repertoire is vital to an orchestra’s survival.”

For more information, visit www.sallysilver.musicwise.net




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