April 23, 2009
Classical Cape Town: an insider shares her tips
In Cape Town there are so many great things to do. There are the sights, the shops, the beach, the mountain, the clubs, and the opera. Yes, I said it, opera!
I am a 25-year-old club-loving, DVD-collecting, shopaholic opera singer. And in South Africa there is no better place to be such a person than in Cape Town. The beauty of the city lies not only in its environment, but also in its array of wonderful venues where you can experience great classical music. Capetonians are truly spoilt when it comes to cultural offerings. From concerts in the winelands to gala events at Artscape: you are never without beautiful sounds!
The old city hall is one of my favourite venues. The high ceilings and ornate décor make you think you are in a period drama. Right in the centre of the city, where cultures collide, you can sit and listen to the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (CPO) under the baton of some of the world’s finest conductors and then at interval you may find yourself rubbing shoulders with, in my opinion, the world’s greatest mayor, who often attends performances.
This year the CPO celebrates the birth of Mendelssohn and will be performing Lobgesang (literally translated as “Hymn of Praise”) for orchestra, vocal soloists and choir. Later in the year you can check out the Summer Symphony Festival. Believe me, if previous years are anything to go by, audiences are in for a treat.
For those with purely operatic inclinations, Cape Town Opera (CTO) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) College of Music will satisfy your needs.
This year the great Puccini classic Madam Butterfly will be staged at Artscape by CTO. The music is electric and the singers are going to rock! Later in the year CTO will premiere a modern classic, Dead Man Walking.
In August, UCT will be staging Donizetti’s L’elisir D’Amore (“The Elixir of Love”), under the watchful eye of Prof Kamal Khan, the director of the UCT Opera School. This will be held at the Baxter Theatre Complex. For decades the Baxter’s backstage corridors have been trodden by some of South Africa’s greatest performers. So every time I am there I feel like I am walking the path to greatness.
Visitors and Capetonians alike should take advantage of the classical music and opera opportunities the city offers. Trust me, you will not be disappointed!
Golda Schultz is a graduate of the UCT Opera School and a performer with the Cape Town Opera. She has recently been accepted to the elite New York arts school Juilliard on a partial scholarship. If she is able to find the outstanding funding, she will begin there in the summer term this year.