Reakopana opera festival
13.08.2013 Reakopana Opera is preparing to celebrate its second year of mellifluous music making with a two-week festival in October.
Launched in 2012 by South African tenor Herman Theron and conductor, singer and opera company director Yves Senn of L’Avant-Scène Opéra in Switzerland, this enterprising joint venture will once again be entertaining audiences with musical works of a high calibre while providing employment for local and international opera artistes.
Furthermore, the young opera company has extended its ambit in its sophomore year by establishing the Reakopana Academy to develop young singers of school-going age, and by including homegrown opera students and amateurs in its performances.
Says Reakopana Opera co-founder and CEO Theron: “It is a very exciting time to be involved with the development of opera right now in Gauteng, and what it will bring to young artists as well as established artists.
“After our success in performing Bernstein’s Candide in South Africa and Switzerland last year, we are creating more opportunities for singers of all levels as well as growing the festival, while continuing our collaboration with L’Avant Scéne Opéra from Switzerland.”
The annual Reakopana Opera Festival, to be held from 13 October to 20 October 2013 at the Greenside Theatre in Greenside East, Johannesburg, will present a considered programme to satisfy new and discerning audiences alike.
The first offering - a concert recital of Mozart works - takes places on Sunday, 13 October. On 16, 19 and 20 October, Reakopana will stage a one-act opera by Rossini.
During the festival, an extended master class under direction of an international vocal and stage coach respectively, will culminate in the concert recital, showcasing the work of promising opera students.
Music lovers will therefore be exposed to engaging works, contributing to the overall growth and appreciation of the genre in this country.
More details regarding the concert recital programme, opera production and casting will be revealed shortly. As was the case with last year’s production of Candide, the principal cast will again comprise South African and Swiss opera singers, creating opportunities for cultural cross-pollination, furthering music development and enabling the sharing of best practice among opera professionals.
Theron adds that besides creating jobs, a crucial component of Reakopana Opera’s vision is to develop young, aspiring singers and students and give them the invaluable opportunity to share a stage with, and learn from, seasoned professionals.
This development model, he points out, is being implemented with great success at L’Avant Scéne Opéra in Switzerland, which is why Reakopana Opera – South Africa’s newest and most dynamic kid on the opera block – has the potential to become a significant player in the local performing arts scene.
From 2014, students from the Reakopana Academy will also present performances at the opera company’s annual festival. The academy was launched this year to nurture a love and understanding of lyrical singing and classical music among young people, who will also be able to experience performing on stage in a professional production.
Photo: Mkhanyiseli Mlombi, Herman Theron, Ina Wiegand