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NJABULO MADLALA REPORTS FROM UK (article first published : 2007-06-19)

Once again, the sensational South African baritone Jacques Imbrailo is flying the South African flag high. Only this time he is flying it in really high places, The Cardiff Singer of the World. The final 25 singers have been selected from more than 1,000 who applied to take part. A record 677 singers from 64 counties took part in auditions held in 44 locations worldwide.

The competition is open to singers aged 18 to 36 on June 1, 2007, at the start of their careers. They have to demonstrate high levels of vocal talent, musicianship and communication skills. The 25 finalists will travel to Cardiff in June to sing before a panel of distinguished jurors and equally discerning audiences. This competition is also broadcast live and many all over are able to see the worlds best talent compete.

This is a very prestigious competition and although South Africa never won the main prize, it has always done very well in this competition. Our few but very special singers have included Abel Motsoadi (bass baritone) 1997, Angela Gilbert (soprano) 2003, and Amanda Echalaz (soprano) 2005. Jacques will represent South Africa for 2007 and we wish him all the best. All the information about the competition and Jacques Imbrailo can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/wales/cardiffsinger/sites/2007/pages/about.shtml

Jacques Imbrailo completed a BA Law degree and a BMus degree at Potchefstroom University in South Africa in 2002 under Professor Werner Nel, followed by postgraduate opera studies at the RCM under Ryland Davies. Awards include runner-up at the South African Music Rights Organization International Scholarship competition, winner of the Distell National Singing Competition in South Africa and second prize at the Richard Tauber singing competition 2005, winner of the vocal category of the Royal Overseas League Competition and finalist in the Kathleen Ferrier Competition.

Opera includes Tarquinius in The Rape of Lucretia and Guglielmo in Così fan tutte at the Royal College of Music and with the Classical Opera Company; Mercutio in Roméo et Juliette for British Youth Opera. He has performed extensively in South Africa and England, including Lieder recitals and concert programmes.

Oratorio performances include Bach’s St John Passion, Handel’s Messiah, the Brahms Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Duruflé Requiem and various others.

Jacques Imbrailo also appeared in an EMI recording of Purcell works as soloist with King's College Cambridge and The Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment was released early 2006. He joined the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme of the Royal Opera House Covent Garden in September 2006 and made his Royal Opera House Debut in December 2006 as Morales in Bizet's Carmen.

Roles at the Royal Opera House next season include the Commissioner in Madama Butterfly, Marullo in Rigoletto and the title role in Owen Wingrave in the Linbury Theatre Covent Garden. He makes his debut as Count Almaviva in Mozart's Le Nozze di Figaro in Lille in October 2008 with conductor Emmanuelle Haïm. - Njabulo Madlala




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