On 2 July 2016, the Artscape Opera House hosted the finals of the ‘World Cup of Opera’, the glamorous International Belvedere Singing Competition. The qualifying rounds were held in 70 cities world-wide, with the quarter- and semi-finals staged at the Baxter here in Cape Town. By 1 July the best entrants had been narrowed down to just 16. An impressive four of the finalists – Caroline Nkwe, Noluvuyiso Mpofu, and husband-and-wife Lukhanyo Moyake and Siphamandla Yakupa – were South African.
South African opera singers are frequently now lauded among the best in the world as this is the fourth year in succession that South Africans have taken one of the top prizes. Levy Sekgapane took 1st prize in 2015, Siyabulela Ntlale took 2nd prize in 2014, tenor Reinaldt Moagi was 3rd prizewinner in 2013, and Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, soprano, won 2nd prize and audience prize in 2012. In 2009, soprano Pretty Yende won all the major prizes.
This year the jury of directors from the world’s most prestigious opera houses including the Metropolitan Opera New York, and Teatro alla Scala Milano, awarded first prize to bass-baritone Nicholas Brownlee from the US, while second place was given to Cape Town soprano, Noluvuyiso Mpofu, who also won both the audience prize and the Margaretha Deysel Prize. Mezzo-soprano Raehann Bryce-Davis from the US took third place.
The concert was streamed live to an international audience and is available to watch for free on www.capetownconcerthall.com until mid-July.