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NJABULO MADLALA REPORTS FROM THE UK (article first published : 2007-01-28)

Njabulo Madlala is an opera singer living and working in London. A month or so ago, he wrote to artSMart offering to write a column from London on how South African singing talent is making in the biggest Opera Houses. Here is his first contribution:

I am really interested in contributing to artSMart by corresponding some music news which will be interesting and exciting for people to hear at home. Apart from being an opera singer, I am very keen in taking part in the development of our South African community. The more they know about what we do, the better for us and the better for our country.

As a start, I thought I would share news with you that two young South African opera singers Pumeza Matshikiza (soprano) and Vuyani Mlinde (bass) have auditioned successfully for The Royal Opera House Jette Parker Young Artists Programme.

The Jette Parker Young Artists Programme supports the artistic development of young professional singers, conductors, directors and répétiteurs. The Young Artists are salaried company members who work at the Royal Opera House full-time over two years. They receive coaching in all opera disciplines and work on Royal Opera productions. Workshops and individual coaching with leading international artists are organised for the Young Artists.

People who have worked with them since the start of the Programme in September 2001 include Thomas Allen, Marcelo Alvarez, Barry Banks, Janet Baker, Josephine Barstow, Kim Begley, Piotr Bezcala, Stephanie Blythe, Russell Braun, Roderick Brydon, Selina Cadell, Bruno Campanelli, Elizabeth Connell, John Copley, Alessandro Corbelli, Ileana Cotrubas, John Cox, Edward Downes, Dale Duesing, Martin Duncan, Gerald Finley, Olivia Fuchs, Lisa Gasteen, Paolo Gavanelli, Vassily Gerello, Eric Halfvarson, Marcus Haddock, Thomas Hampson, Martin Handley, Ben Heppner, Richard Hickox, Martin Isepp, Anthony Rolfe Johnson, Fiona Kimm, Sergei Larin, Jennifer Larmore, Sergei Leiferkus, Robert Lloyd, Catherine Malfitano, Yvonne Minton, Nelly Miricioiu, Diana Montague, Ann Murray, Dennis O'Neill, Felicity Palmer, Antonio Pappano, David Parry, Luciano Pavarotti, Adrianne Pieczonka, Samuel Ramey, Eva Randová, Carlo Rizzi, Amanda Roocroft, Craig Rutenberg, Robert Dean Smith, Kurt Streit, Tim Supple, Sam Taylor-Wood, Robert Tear, John Tomlinson, Violeta Urmana, Carol Vaness, Roger Vignoles, Timothy West, Catherine Wyn Rogers, Simone Young and Francesca Zambello. They give an annual performance on the main stage with the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House as well as recitals in the Linbury and the Crush Room.

Pumeza and Vuyani will be starting in September 2007 while South African Baritone Jacques Imbrailo started in September 2006. This is a great achievement for these guys as each singer has to go through a lot of auditions. Also this is something new and exciting for South Africa. To have three young singers representing South Africa in an international opera house - The Royal Opera House. Pumeza and Vuyani I think will be the first black South Africans to make it to the Royal opera House and this is a dream for a lot. Well at least now all South Africa singers should know that they have got what it takes and just need to keep going and take these singers as an example. - Njabulo Madlala




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