This weekend Diemersfontein Wine and Country Estate will offer a celebratory programme of Opera to fundraise for their Voices of South Africa Trust. Do have a look at the program and get your tickets to join me and Diemersfontein for a Night at the Opera if you can.
Owners David and Sue Sonnenberg are huge fans of the phenomenal local opera talent and have created the Excellence out of Africa Trust to help support and encourage young people to pursue their dreams of becoming professional and international opera stars. The South African international opera star Pretty Yende was their first astonishing introduction to the depth of talent coming out of our country.
Likewise, they met the renowned South African baritone, Njabulo Madlala in London in 2010. Njabulo blew us away with his talent when he performed with Pretty Yende at St James, Piccadilly in our first London fundraiser concert. Njabulo, had an altruistic vision to create a national opera singing competition in South Africa to give aspirant singers the opportunities that he had to pursue opera as a career.
By 2013, Njabulo had created a project bringing to South Africa leading musicians from the abroad to lead masterclasses. The first competition was held Durban in 2013 and has been held every year since then. The competition is the culmination of a week-long programme of masterclasses. The young singers are given top tuition and get a chance to sing in the semifinal and final concerts.
Madlala hails from Inanda, a township just north of Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Through the years, Njabulo has fought against all odds to become one of the country’s most well known operatic exports. Recent highlights include his debut at the Royal Opera House. In the current season Njabulo performs in Moscow and further ahead in 2018, he makes his debuts with the Minnesota Orchestra, English National Opera and the Dutch National Opera.
The project connects the young people who take part with institutions of higher learning in South Africa and abroad for possible opportunities for further studies. So far, six young people have travelled to the UK for auditions and studies at various institutions including the Royal College of Music, The Royal Opera House Young Artist Programme and the National Opera Studio.
2018 sees Diemersfontein embarking on their most ambitious work for the Excellence out of Africa Trust to date, as they are hosting Njabulo‘s admirable endeavour at Diemersfontein.
They invite you to join the journey and immerse yourself in an intimate experience of this uplifting art form. You will hear some of the finest guest teachers, including Kobie Van Rensburg, Kamal Khan, David Gowland (artistic director of the renowned Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House), help these students breathe life into well-known masterpieces.
You can choose a total or partial immersion during a three-day event that kicks off the week. Starting on the 16th February with a meet and greet wine reception and dinner at our Seasons restaurant. On Saturday evening 17th February, there will be an exclusive concert featuring Njabulo and his close friend and colleague, the magnificent, incomparable South African lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza. The weekend ends with a masterclass on Sunday morning 18th, followed by a concert showcasing some of the top students in the programme.
During the week they will stay on the farm and receive world-class mentoring and guidance, followed by another fundraising concert with Pumeza and Njabulo joined by all the young singers on the 24th February at the Hugo Lambrechts Auditorium in Cape Town. The whole week will culminate in the finals of the competition on Sunday 25th February at the same venue.
The special all-inclusive weekend package is available at Diemersfontein 16 -18 February at a cost of R5000 for two guests sharing, with Dinner, Wine Tasting and the Concert at just R800 pp. For more details connect with Hazel Kelly firstname.lastname@example.org. I’ll be there on Saturday supporting this worthy and wonderful cause.