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“The enactment is a feast for the senses, showing off the very best of South African opera, musicianship and stagecraft.”

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Nutini’s boyish allure along with his bluesy voice made every song a tantalising experience. The backup singer and drummer, despite being new on stage with Nutini, were absolutely on point, and the band as a whole created an overall sound that was nothing if not elegant, complimenting Nutini as he poured out his soul.

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The Endler Hall has arguably the best acoustical features of all concert halls in the Western Cape. It has even been acclaimed as one of the finest concert halls in the world. It therefore comes as no surprise that the Endler Prestige Concert Series has always attracted world-renowned artists.

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…but the treffer of their set was ‘Shit Happens’ a spontaneous song to keep the crowd entertained while a guitar was fixed.

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Sitting snugly in the striped cushioned seats (definitely the most comfortable in a while) and sipping on a glass of cabernet, I started thinking how well red wine and jazz go together. But, just like a good wine, jazz has to be finely crafted to be properly enjoyed.

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I’d imagined there would be more focus on healthy foods and ways to prepare invigorating and healthy meals. And I was disappointed not to see at least one miniature organic market, but maybe that’s because there’s already quite a few organic food markets at the weekends.

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The atmosphere was electric – with the audience shouting ‘hopa!’ and ‘ole!’ along with the dancers and musicians – making me feel I was at the centre of a dusty little Spanish town.

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From the first shaping of the orchestra’s sound in Maestro Bonynge’s hands to the unrestrained “bravos” at the end as we rose to our feet, the tight cast of talents carried us through a concert that will not easily be forgotten.

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It takes exceptionally gifted actors to capture and deliver all the elements embedded in this epic love affair, and to portray them convincingly with such acuity and flair.

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On a minimalist set, Uys takes the audience through a side-splitting yet thought-provoking tour of our turbulent timeline. He agilely somersaults through the spectrum of the aged architects of Apartheid with satire that exceeds mere stereotype.

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Festival headliner Caiphus Semenya kept the spirit up and even got the crowd to sing a verse perfectly – even though some of us didn’t understand a word. But the performance highlight from this leading South African composer, musician and singer was a jam with his guitarist. An exchange of enthralling guitar riffs and vibrant vocals made for a catchy sound and a packed City Hall went nuts.

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It’s no wonder WWE fans in the States are addicted to pay-per-view. A packed arena, a WWE Smackdown ring, bright lights, thundering music and WWE Superstars walking out from backstage, a mixture of the modern gladiator and a fair amount of soap opera melodrama.

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I’ve seen launches of second albums in this very venue that did not draw such a packed crowd. Highlights were the beautiful new single ‘Daydream’ and a song penned by drummer Josh Klynsmith, ‘Don’t Let Me Go’.

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Naturally one cannot take a glass of whisky out of the festival, but you can hardly down a glassful either. The door guard’s solution? Go to the toilet and throw it down the sink. It somehow took the glamour out of the occasion. To recap: go early, sign in for all the cool events, and don’t leave with a single drop in your glass. And if all else fails hand over all you coupons for Mr Blue…

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Created by the legendary Hugh Masekela who also stars in the show, songs of Migration tells the stories of migrant workers who left their homes and their loved ones to work in the mines in Johannesburg and other mineral rich towns of South Africa.

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Cape Town is cooking and my otherwise pale and blotchy legs are now complemented by orange streaks of fake tan. In this regard, I remain resolutely British. True Capetonians blossom in the summer. Endless lithe and perfectly bronzed bodies roam about, relaxed and laughing. Even their hair remains shiny and tangle-free whereas mine sticks out in small frizzy clumps where I’ve repeatedly got it caught in my sunglasses. [Read more…]

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Initially I felt almost guilty at Breyani. I felt a bit like a peeping tom looking in on a jam session. Then David Kramer walked on stage with his big smile and his trademark hat and I immediately felt welcome…

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One would have thought it would be difficult to empathize with an SS officer responsible for gross crimes against humanity. But Cairns is irresistibly charming as a dry and somewhat clumsy ex-theatre-critic-turned-Nazi-cleric. Equipped with his signature wit and physical comedic ability Cairns creates a character who soulfully reflects on his existence as an “evil, evil German” as he tries to save the life of his love interest, a captive stage actress, by convincing his superiors that “sie weiss alles” (she knows everything).

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The Nederburg Concert Series gives a platform to South African classical musicians of international calibre, and on the programme this particular afternoon were three students recently selected to be part of the Unisa Music Foundation’s Gifted Young Musicians Development Programme.

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With so many impressions to digest, it is hard to pick out highlights, but standing out not just for its size, but also for its scintillating colour pallette is El Marinero, a mixed media painting on canvas by Christiaan Conradie. It shows an elderly man with distinct features and big, masculine hands. The face and the hands are separated by what seems like scribble or doodling until closer examination reveals fascinating detail.

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Away with dreary winter! Hooray for the advent of spring and its dynamic of rejuvenation and relaxation – perfectly encapsulated by the annual Franschhoek Uncorked wine festival. Thanks to some superb planning by the festival organisers, all of the participating wine farms were indicated with bright red signs, with Noble Hill Wine Estate as #1 and Boekenhoutskloof as #19. Any planning by visitors is of course subject to spontaneity, as it is all too easy in any individual vineyard to bump into friends, or to get distracted by a particularly appealing wine, or simply to get caught up with the atmosphere and lose track of time. We did what we could of course, but there was no way we were going to manage all 19 farms!

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On the plate it looks like seared beef fillet sliced carpaccio style, topped with a heavily sesame-oil-infused concoction of soy sauce, fresh ginger, black and white sesame seeds, and green onion. In the mouth it is an unparalleled party of flavours: an explosion of umami, tender in texture and tangy in taste.

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Angela Kilian as Norma Desmond is phenomenal, with a brittle sensuality that oozes pain, desperation and madness. Her powerful voice is beautiful yet razor sharp, and her every gesture commands the stage in a way that makes it poignantly clear why Norma Desmond was such a great star of the silent movies

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Her eyes glistened with passion and the purity of her voice, spoken and sung, sent an awed hush across the audience, adding even more to the sacred scenes in the Abbey. In closing Act One with ‘Climb Ev’ry Mountain’, the crucifix around her neck caught the light in the most unintentional of ways, and danced about reflecting the spellbound expressions of the entire Opera House audience.

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Glasshouse has created a grooming emporium with overtones of a gentlemen’s club. Hot cappuccinos, cold beers and refined whisky can be enjoyed whilst watching the rugby – as a therapist skillfully attends to your toes.
The décor successfully reflects the ethos behind Glasshouse: masculine, comfortable, contemporary and suitably slick, yet not intimidating.

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