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Since 2016 Johannesburg audiences have been treated to an annual opera gala showcase of South Africa’s stars of the international opera scene.
This year’s featured sopranos Kelebogile Besong and Golda Schultz (both based in Germany) will present a varied mix of pearls from opera comique, operetta to verismo on 9 March at the Linder Auditorium.
Ms Besong is no stranger to Gauteng audiences, having previously sung the role of Susanna in the 2012 Opera Africa production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro at the State Theatre. She was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music in 2012 and was also the Arts category winner of The Most Influential Women in Business and Government Awards of 2013. Asked about the opportunity to return to the Linder Auditorium stage, Ms Besong exclaims, “I have been blessed to enjoy a successful international career but not sharing music with the South African audience always leaves an empty space.”
Golda Schultz is perhaps an enigma that many will only have become aware in the last little while. Her star is certainly shining bright! In the last four months she has made debut appearances at New York’s Metropolitan Opera, Carnegie Hall as well as Wigmore Hall in London. Performing in Johannesburg means just as much as all the other famed concert venues of classical music and opera as is evident in her statement: “There are no words to describe how excited I am to sing in Joburg. It’s a dream come true!!!”
For the third year running now, the concert is made possible by Motseng Investment Holdings. CEO Ipeleng Mkhari reflects, “Our belief is that we shine when our people shine and therefore our commitment to unearthing our jewels is steadfast. Our jewels Goulda Schultz and Kelebogile Besong are testament to Motseng’s vision to celebrate women.”
Conductor Kutlwano Masote will again be at the podium directing the Chamber Orchestra of Johannesburg. Highlights of the programme include Ritorna vincitor from Verdi’s Aïda, the Czardas from Strauss Die Fledermaus, Micaela’s aria from Bizet’s Carmen and the duet Belle Nuit from Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach.