Musiek in konteks

Five new South African short operas: a report - Bertha Spies

5 Operas

The University of Cape Town commissioned five South African composers to write a 20-minute opera, each in celebration of the centenary of the South African College of Music. The Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA) funded the composition and production of the operas, presented collectively as Five:20 Operas Made in South Africa. The operas were presented by Cape Town Opera, the University of Cape Town Opera School and GIPCA from 21 to 27 November 2010 in the Baxter Theatre in Rondebosch under the auspices of the University of Cape Town .By staging five contemporary operas on contentious, relevant topics and doing so in an accessible musical language, the Five:20 project has filled a niche in the cultural life of this country.

Bongani Ndodana-Breen’s Hani, the first South African opera on the programme, takes the assassination of Chris Hani on 10 April 1993 as its point of departure to ask questions about post-apartheid South Africa.

Hendrik Hofmeyr, who, apart from the music, also wrote the libretto for Saartjiein collaboration with Fiona Zerbst, chose Saartjie Baartman as the subject for his opera.

Based on the prison poetry of Breyten Breytenbach, Martin Watt’s Tronkvoël (Jailbird) opens with static, silent figures behind bars, frozen in various poses signifying despair.

Peter Klatzow chose Lucy Lloyd as the main character in his opera, Words From a Broken String.

Péter Louis van Dijk specifically decided to use a South African mini-bus taxi as the central concept for his opera, Out of Time.

Vir volledige artikel:
2010    Five new South African short operas: a report. Journal of the Musical Arts in Africa. Vol. 7:79-91.


Bertha Spies
Department of Music, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, 0002


Junie 2014

© Catharina Loader 2001