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OPERA ON THE ROCKS #2 (article first published : 2005-04-27)

Operatic star tenor Stefan Louw returns to Durban after his recent highly successful Playhouse season in Bravo Night at the Opera, to team up with well-known soprano Stacey Almond in a Catalina Classical Champagne Concert on May 1. Their accompanist for the concert will be Andrew Warburton.

These two highly accomplished singers will perform a programme of favourite tenor and soprano arias and duets from La Boheme, Don Giovanni, Tosca, LíElisir díAmore, La Traviata, La Wally, Strauss and Neopolitan Songs, through to Superstars Bocelli and Brightman duet The Prayer.

A Lyrico Spinto Tenor, Stefan began his singing studies with UNISA and then went on to Pretoria University. He was a member of the State Opera Chorus, and received their Chorister of the Year Award in 1996. For his solo debut with Pretoria State Opera, he received the FNB Vita Award as best newcomer to Opera for 1999.

Stefan has appeared in the prestigious Debut with Mimi programme presented by Mimi Coertse and is a founder member of The Black Tie Ensemble, a group of exciting young South African opera singers. He has since appeared in a number of leading operatic roles, and in 2003, was rated as one of South Africaís top 10 Classical musicians. Stefan made his International debut at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago in Princess Magogo, in 2004.

Stacey Almond returned to Durban some 10 years ago from London, where she was a Royal Opera House Covent Garden Artist, and a former member of Scottish Opera. She studied at The Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, and has freelanced in Europe and The Far East both as a singer, and as Professor of singing at The Hong Kong and Chinese Universities.

Since returning to South Africa, she has sung with The KZNPO, represented South Africa in the National Freedom Day Celebrations in India, appeared countless times throughout the province in concerts and shows with leading instrumentalists and as well as performing, runs the music agency Nuts 4 Music, representing top music talent throughout KwaZulu-Natal.

Andrew Warburton needs no introduction to Durban audiences, and all lovers of classical music are well acquainted with his many and varied performances, both here and throughout South Africa. Whether it is performing as a solo artist with the KZNPO or accompanying singers and instrumentalists at concert venues in the province, he has built up a major following since he first began playing as a student of Isabella Stengelís at Natal University. As Head of Accompanying and Vocal Coach at OSCAR, the University of KwaZulu-Natalís Opera School, he still manages to take time out for top solo performances. Most recently, he appeared with the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra as a specially invited soloist.

The concert, titled Opera on the Rocks takes place on May 1 at 12h00 at Catalina Theatre on Wilsonís Wharf.

Tickets R60 include a glass of champagne and snacks. Full programme details and bookings from: Thandeka on 031 305 6889.




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