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OPERA PROJECT LAUNCH (article first published : 2000-09-21)

The University of Natal is to launch its Opera School and Voice Academy Project on October 4 at South Africa House in London. The event will be hosted by South African High Commissioner in London Cheryl Carolus and University Principal and Vice-Chancellor Brenda Gourley. Also hosting the event will be renowned music critic Max Loppert who has been a driving force and one of the staunchest supporters of the project.

An audience of potential sponsors and international patrons, many of them celebrated artistes themselves, will be entertained by top UND students including star soprano Bronwen Forbay who has just begun her first scholarship year at the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Among those attending are US soprano Roberta Alexander (who sang in Durban last year); leading UK opera singers Sir Thomas Allen, Dame Josephine Barstow, Durban-born Sally Burgess and Dame Anne Evans; Christopher Hahn (South African-born artistic director of the Cincinnati Opera) and Sir Jeremy Isaacs (founder of Channel 4 Television and former boss of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden).

Also attending will be Michael Kaiser (director of Covent Garden and future boss of the Kennedy Centre in Washington, who has in the past worked at the Market Theatre in Johannesburg); SA-born opera critic and translator Andrew Porter; UK opera producer David Pountney (who spent a post-school year in KZN), SA-born composer Kevin Volans; eminent US translator William Weaver, and the Caribbean-born bass-baritone Willard White. Also expected is the great South African mezzo-soprano Sibongile Khumalo.

With Forbay will be student singers Joyce Moholoagae and Lwazi Ncube, mezzo-soprano Nomthandazo Mkize, tenor Thembelani Luwaca and bass-baritone Bongani Zondi, all pupils of Colleen Philp of the UND Music School. The pianist is David Smith, also of the School.

The Opera School Project - and opera in South Africa - has garnered much attention in the British media and in specialist publications, including an in-depth article which appeared in a recent issue of the magazine Opera - one of the most influential publications in the opera world.

More details from Bruno van Dyk (031) 260-2017 or Jo-Anne Hen-Boisen (031) 260-2018.




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