Profile: Cape Town Opera Company


Porgy and BessAcclaimed for the vibrant vocalism and high-octane stage performances of its artists, Cape Town Opera’s soloists and chorus continue to win the hearts of local and international critics and opera-lovers while proudly flying the South African flag and showcasing this country’s wealth of talent. The company boasts a talented core of singers who won the Best Chorus at the 2013 International Opera Awards. Editor of Opera Magazine, John Allison, presented the award to Cape Town Opera’s Managing Director Michael Williams by saying, “the award for Best Opera Chorus award goes to Cape Town Opera, for its energy and exciting commitment, which never fails to communicate itself to an audience and shows again why a chorus can be the backbone of any company”.

In 2014 Cape Town Opera celebrates its fifteenth year as South Africa’s premiere opera company staging six international productions, six local productions and outreach programmes in 43 cities and towns, across three continents.

The past fifteen years have seen significant upliftment, education, training and development of many young singers who have graced local and international stages. Cape Town Opera’s South African base is a key training ground for gifted young African singers, many of whom come from South Africa’s poorest communities. Maintaining an impressively varied repertoire of opera, operetta and musicals at home (from Monteverdi to Janacek and Gershwin to new South African commissions), the company also engages widely with rural communities and young people around South Africa. Since 2005, CTO has showcased its finest vocal talents in a roster of touring productions that have brought the art of this unique company to the world.

From its home in Southern Africa to countries including the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Israel, the United States and Australia, Cape Town Opera has thrilled audiences across the globe. Since 2004 Cape Town Opera has successfully toured its productions of Porgy & Bess, Show BoatMandela Trilogy and Treemonisha to opera houses in Europe.

Hugo Shirley from the Telegraph raved about every member of the “inspiring” cast of Porgy & Bess “singing, dancing and living each number with joyous abandon”. He picked out Arline Jaftha’s “heartfelt, big-voiced Serena” as “shattering” and the emotion from everyone on stage as “all-engulfing”. Xolela Sixaba as Porgy was described variously as “a bass to dream about” with “a huge, captivating voice”.

As Stephen Pritchard from the Observer puts it, “Cape Town Opera is a fine example of what can be achieved when you finally give talent the chance to flourish… The company’s presence in London should make the Royal Opera shift uneasily in its shoes.”

Places to see them in Cape Town: Artscape Theatre Centre, Baxter Theatre Centre, The Joseph Stone Auditorium

Awards: Best Opera Chorus at the first International Opera Awards (2013)

Twitter: @CapeTOpera

” Xolela Sixaba as Joe (also played by Paul Madibeng) masterfully conveys the slow trickle of time and the wisdom of the river with his deep bass rendition of the song, an entire cultural history reverberating through his voice as he sings: “I get weary and sick of trying/ I’m tired of living but scared of dying”.” Read our review on Cape Town Opera Company performing at the Artscape Theatre Centre.




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