Close your eyes. Listen. Feel. There is nothing quite like an operatic aria delivered with a powerful, beautiful voice to goosebump audiences and inspire emotion. And this week the Joburg Theatre presents a welcome return installment of the Cantiamo, Mzansi Opera Celebration for a limited season.
The concept reprise follows last year October’s highly successful debut, also in Johannesburg. The programme features excerpts from some of the most popular masterpieces as well as a soupcon of local flavour.
“I am extremely glad to be back on stage again,” says tenor Phenye Modiane. “The Joburg Theatre’s support and commitment has been incredible.” He is excited about the show, too, saying that it is not just a “stand up and sing”, greatest operatic hits yawn, but that the producers have recreated the actual scenes from the original operas, so that each segment of the show is authentically performed.
“It is almost like a book of short stories,” he says, with each beautiful set and costumed performers shape-shifting from role to role. Modiane speaks with bubbling enthusiasm about the show and, even after a long day of rehearsals, sounded upbeat and ready for more.
Cantiamo, Mzansi Opera Celebration features popular opera arias and ensembles from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, Rossini’s Il Barbiere di Siviglia and Verdi’s La Traviata. “We will be taking the audience on a journey, a celebration of music with South African artists,” says Modiane.
“There is no substitute for live theatre, it brings something to the table that no online show or television performance can deliver.” Apart from the favourites, he says that the show will also feature work from local composers like Sibusiso Njeza and Mohau Mogale’s Tribute to Nelson Mandela. There will also be showcases of traditional dancing songs and performances peppered in-between.
“The home-grown operatic talents of this country’s singers have showcased South African voices around the world and produced many internationally recognised opera stars. We are honoured to celebrate unforgettable opera at the Mandela Theatre, in the company of four wonderful soloists accompanied by master pianist, Paul Ferreira.” says Joburg Theatre’s CEO Xoliswa Nduneni Ngema. The show is directed by Marcus Desando.
Of course, we are still in the throes of a pandemic and regulations are observed. Thus, seating is limited.