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Voices from the sun

South African voices impress the world’s stage of opera.

For the first time, Plácido Domingo’s Operalia, sponsored by Rolex, was hosted on home soil with sopranos, altos and mezzo-sopranos from across the globe arriving in Cape Town to compete in what some call the world cup of opera. Of the 34 contestants from as far afield as Ukraine, Romania, USA, France, Russia and South Korea, five were South Africans – a reflection of the quality of our talent.

The 12 finalists included South Africans Siphokazi Molteno and Nombulelo Yende, Pretty Yende’s younger sister. The Yendes are impressive with Pretty being a previous winner of this iconic competition as well as the chosen opera singer at King Charles’s Coronation. Younger sister Nombulelo did not disappoint, walking away with the CulturArte Prize for her soprano performance in the finals at Artscape. In a country with such a small and exclusive opera culture, having so many successful contestants in one competition is testimony to our extraordinary homegrown voices and bodes well for the future of opera and opera singers in South Africa.


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