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ZANNE STAPELBERG (article first published : 2007-10-25; last edited : [an error occurred while processing this directive])

Flamboyant young South African operatic sensation, Zanne Stapelberg (30) is the Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for music for 2008.

Currently singing as the First Lady in The Magic Flute, Zanne has continued to woo audiences with her voice dubbed as ‘one of singular beauty’. This dynamic operatic star, who obtained her Higher Licentiate in Musical Performance Cum Laude at the University of Stellenbosch, received the coveted Best Young Opera Singer Award from the Cape Town Friends of the Opera in 2001. This added to her meteoric rise as one of the most sought-after artists on the South Africa opera circuit.

Zanne began her opera training at the Conservatoire of the University of Stellenbosch under Magdalena Oosthuizen and graduated in 1998 with a degree in music and english literature. In addition, she was awarded a bursary for academic achievement as well as numerous prestigious singing bursaries.

This popular performer has graced the stage in the roles of Angelica in Suor Angelica, Nella in Gianni Schicci, Mimi in La Bohème, Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo and Pamina in Mozart’s Die Zauberflöte, a role she subsequently reprised for the prestigious Spier Opera Festival.

Some of her other performances include Handel’s Messiah, Vivaldi’s Gloria, Haydn’s Die Schöpfung, Mozart’s Dixit Dominus, Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem, Dvorak’s Requiem, Carla in William Kentridge’s European tour of his performance art piece, Confessions of Zeno, composed by Kevin Volans as well as the starring role in the highly successful Aqua Opera at the V&A Waterfront in 2003 and 2004.

Zanne is an accomplished recitalist and she frequently performs with well-known pianist Francois du Toit. She has performed in Byzantium and Die Stil Avontuur which are works of famous composer Hendrik Hofmeyr. Their most recent collaboration was a CD entitled Lieder featuring Zanne and baritone Andre Howard. Her great passion is to perform new works by contemporary South African composers.

Her love of literature and poetry has seen Zanne produce Canciones en Espanolas (Songs in Spanish) with James Grace in concert for the ABSA KKNK. For this, she commissioned works by South African composers Braam du Toit and Matthijs van Dijk. She also sang at the Spier Poetry Festival, performing the poetry of Marlene van Niekerk which was set to music by Braam du Toit.

It is, however, Zanne’s operatic performances which have been met with critical acclaim and established her as one of South Africa’s most exhilarating voices. Her portrayal of Marguerite in Cape Town Opera’s production of Gounod’s Faust, the title role in Handel’s Alcina for Durban Playhouse Theatre’s Bravo! A Night at the Opera, her role as Rosalinda in the opera Die Fledermaus, her appearance in Queen at the Ballet and in Stravinsky’s opera-ballet Pulcinella, are just some of the highlights of Zanne’s career.

“I’ve always wanted to spend my life on stage. I love performing and most of all, singing. To be given an award for this is an immense honour. I would like to thank Mandie van der Spuy and Standard Bank for recognizing me and believing that I am deserving of this wonderful accolade,” said Zanne.

Cape Town can be proud of this opera star who matriculated at the Durbanville High School. “Whilst growing up music was always part of my life and I have fond memories of my father singing and playing the piano at home,” says Zanne. “After my maternal grandmother’s death, I discovered that she had wanted to be an opera singer all her life but this had never materialized,” says Zanne sadly. “So I have a deeply-rooted musical background and am grateful that I have managed to fulfill my grandmother’s dream of becoming a professional opera singer.”




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