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It’s a name change again, but this time the former Black Ties, more recently known as BTE VO1SS, have taken a scientific route to redefine themselves. What they believe is that they drifted away from their core function – to sing opera.
“We want to be the leading opera company in South Africa, says Chief Operating Officer, Arnold Cloete.
Their new name defines who and what they are. Gauteng Opera with a slogan, Opera for Everyone, also aims to be a world-class training academy that produces voices for the future and clearly defined opera productions that have broad appeal to the local market.
With colleague and chief executive officer Marcus Desando by his side, they will be leading a group (Forté) of soloists whose responsibilities include corporate functions as well as principles for opera productions; offer opera graduates an opportunity to gain practical experience as part of The Studio where they will be required to act as understudies; and The Academy that trains young singers with no formal training and from previously disadvantaged communities .
“The driving force for Gauteng Opera is to build and sustain good singing and nurture well rounded artists locally,” says Cloete.
Funded by the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and motivated by their stated mission, their first production with the name change at play is a Verdi Opera Gala, the first concert in the Yebo Opera series for 2013/2014.
Gauteng Opera will pay tribute to one of the most influential and celebrated composers of the 19th century on Friday at Joburg’s Linder Auditorium at 8pm and on Sunday at 3pm at Pretoria’s Aula Theatre.
This year marks the 200th birth-year of this revolutionary composer whose operas have been close to opera-lovers’ hearts.
“For this gala we will explore the genius of Verdi’s big operatic choruses, which will leave the audience inspired” Desando said.
Verdi enthusiasts can look forward to the traditional presentation of the maestro’s sublime chorus works, which will range from his most popular to the rarely performed, including highlights from the uplifting La Forza del Destino, the magnificent I Lombardi, the moving and beautiful Don Carlo and the sweeping Aida.
Also part of the programme is the much-loved Va Pensiero (Slave Chorus) from Nabucco and two overtures, the emotional overture of I Cespri Siciliani and one of the most powerful overtures in the history of opera from La Forza del Destino.
The soloists from Gauteng Opera, an augmented chorus and full orchestra, will be under the baton of Philipp Pointner, the Kapellmeister from the State Theatre of Nürnberg in Germany, who is no stranger to Pretoria as he conducted the 2011 Cavalleria Rusticana and Gianni Schicchi production of the now refocused company.
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