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KENTRIDGE’S THE MAGIC FLUTE (article first published : 2007-09-29)

“Mozart combines serenity, melancholy, and tragic intensity into one great lyric improvisation. Over it all hovers the greater spirit that is Mozart's — the spirit of compassion, of universal love, even of suffering — a spirit that knows no age, that belongs to all ages.” – Leonard Bernstein

After hugely successful runs in Brussels, New York, Lille and Tel Aviv, the internationally acclaimed production of William Kentridge’s The Magic Flute is now on home-grown soil having performed in Cape Town and due to open tomorrow night in Johannesburg, presented by Rand Merchant Bank.

Not only has a world-class production come to South African shores, it has also lured back to the country some of South Africa’s top vocal talent who are currently holding international contracts.

Leading the pack is soprano Angela Gilbert, who was for many years the darling of the opera-loving South African public before moving to the USA to carve out an exciting international career. Earlier this year she made a smashing debut at the San Diego Opera in the title role of Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, with Pam Kragen of the NC Times writing that ‘Gilbert is the shining high point in a well-cast, well conducted and well-designed production… Although she's still a young singer, Gilbert is an exceptional talent who could well become the Lucia of her generation.’ In South Africa, Angela Gilbert lends her crystal clear soprano and faultless technique to the role of the Queen of the Night, singing one of The Magic Flute’s most exhilarating, yet notoriously difficult arias.

The other big drawcard is Kaiser Nkosi, whose resonant bass has enchanted audiences across Europe and the USA. Nkosi can be heard in the role of the High Priest Sarastro, a role he has sung to great acclaim at the world premiere of Kentridge’s The Magic Flute at La Monnaie, Brussels, in 2006.

The lyrical tenor Musa Nkuna, originally from Cape Town, has since furthered his studies in Switzerland and established a thriving career in Germany. Currently a member of the opera company in Cologne, the coming season sees him tackling roles in Carmen, Don Pasquale and the title role in Orpheus and the Underworld. Musa Nkuna will sing the role of the noble young prince Tamino in Kentridge’s The Magic Flute.

Pamina, daughter of the Queen of the Night and the love interest of Tamino, will be performed by soprano Angela Kerrison - another South African currently making an impression in Europe. Having won the International Don Giovanni Singing Competition in Verona, Italy, she is currently a member of the International Zurich Studio in Switzerland.

Performances of The Magic Flute take place in Johannesburg at the Civic Theatre from September 29. Tickets are on sale at Computicket. For more details, consult the website at www.magicflute.co.za

David Krut Publishing has released the publication of William Kentridge Flute edited by Bronwyn Law-Viljoen. Printed in full colour, it is available in soft cover ISBN: 978-0-9584975-4-1 at R290 and hard cover ISBN: 978-0-9584975-6-5 at R390. Watch these pages for a review on the book.




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