|Date: 17-22 November 2015|
| Venue: Opera Theatre
|Ticket Price: R50.00
Ubuntu – The Opera made accessible to all
Experience the splendour of the African voice! Durban’s Playhouse Opera Theatre will be the scene of a major cultural event next week, with the world premiere season of Ubuntu – The Opera by Juan Burgers. To celebrate South Africa’s 21 years of democracy, the management of this important new South African stage work have agreed to offer tickets at R50 per person, making it accessible to all.
Funded by the National Lotteries Commission, the new work is presented by Bravo Africa Entertainment in collaboration with Esayidi FET College. With Raphael Vilakazi as its executive producer, the production has five performances in the Playhouse Opera Theatre between 17 and 22 November 2015.
Burgers’ creation is presented as a 21st anniversary salute to South Africa’s democracy, offering a magnificent showcase of some of the country’s finest operatic talent. Set to a score underpinned by the composer’s strong melodic drive and his bent for richly conceived vocal and orchestral writing, the heroic work is written in two acts with a prologue.
The stirring libretto focuses on key events in the years of struggle against apartheid, with the iconic roles of Nelson Rolihlaha Mandela and Winnie Madikizela Mandela as its inspiring figureheads. Their marriage as seen in the context of the opera proves to be the catalyst against which the broader backdrop of the struggle is depicted. They share the stage with other great struggle icons such as Nkosi Albert Luthuli, Walter Sisulu and Govan Mbeki, among others.
Aside from the principal cast, the production features a powerhouse chorus of some 60 singers performing with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of Lykele Temmingh. With Burgers as its creative and artistic director, vocal coach and repetiteur, Ubuntu – The Opera is directed, designed and choreographed by David Krugel (The Spartacus of Africa).
Principal casting includes the rising young soprano Charlotte Mhlongo as Gaia, with tenors Thamsanqa Mqaba and Simphiwe Mkhatshwa alternating in the pivotal tenor role of Ubuntu, (who as narrator remains onstage throughout the opera). Baritones Njabulo Mthimkhulu and Monde Masimini share the role of Nelson Mandela.
Sopranos Khumbuzile Dlamini and Nomsa Mpofu alternate singing the role of Winnie Mandela; baritones Musa Ndadane and Tamsanqa Khaba share the role of Albert Luthuli, Richard Salmon plays Judge Quartus de Wet; Raimondo van Staden appears as Braam Fischer, and tenor Cobus Venter sings the role of the public prosecutor, Percy Yutar. Soprano Zakhona Biyase sings the cameo role of Zindzi Mandela.
Performances of Ubuntu – The Opera are at 19h30 on 17, 18, 20 and 21 November 2015, with a final matinee performance on Sunday 22 November at 14h30. Tickets are available through Computicket outlets at Shoprite Checkers. For telephone bookings call 0861 915 8000 or book online at www.computicket.com. Alternatively, call the Playhouse box office on 031-369 9540 (office hours). Tickets will also be available at the door.