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OPERA EAST AND WEST (article first published : 2005-10-11)

The young soloists and chorus of the Opera Studio and Choral Academy (OSCA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal are preparing a colourful showcase of their best work, entitled Opera East and West.

The programme is designed to show the range of cultural inspiration behind famous operatic stories and music. This "amazing race" crosses three continents * Africa, Asia and Europe * and will be sung in five languages (with surtitle translations).

The scenes to be presented reflect the background of three world religions: Hinduism, as portrayed in Delibe's opera of colonial India (Lakmé); Islam, the context for Mozart's story of an Ottoman harem (The Abduction from the Seraglio); and Christianity, which is clearly present in Gounod's opera (Faust). Also on the programme will be selections from two Verdi operas La Forza Destino and La Traviata.

In addition, there will be some rarely-heard music by Mozart entitled Thamos, King of Egypt which is set against the ancient worship of the Sun-God in the times of the Pharaohs. Other music from the African continent is featured in a chorus from Mzilikazi Khumalo's Zulu opera, Princess Magogo, while local composer Phelelani Mnomiya's chorus Ihele originally created for an Adams College graduation will also be performed. Mnomiya is a lecturer in choral studies at OSCA.

The broad range of emotional and linguistic challenges in the programme will provide a worthy platform for the talents of these aspiring professionals. Production of the scenes is by Pamela Tancsik and David Smith, with Andrew Warburton, OSCA chorus-master, at the piano.

Opera East and West will have two performances at the Jubilee Centre, Princess Alice Avenue, on October 21 at 19h30 and on October 23 at 14h30. Tickets R40 (R20 concessions). Bookings through Maggie on 031 260-1672.

Secure parking is available in the university car-park behind the Centre.




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