For the remaining part of this week, Joburg’s Market Theatre in Newtown will come alive to the sounds of opera. Very few stalwart Market supporters would ever guess that this could happen, but with the enormous rise in popularity of this art form in all sectors of our population, it is perhaps not that surprising.

This short Festival of Classical Music – which will also include some spin-offs of lighter styles like musicals, Brel, Piaf, contemporary and a pinch of jazz, plus Afro-pop – is the brainchild of Lawrence Joffe, a classically-trained singer and member of the popular group Inferno Opera, who will be heard tonight at 8pm in the opening perfor- mance.

Opera Africa will also showcase their greatest talents, including Kelebogile Boikanyo, this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist of the Year winner, and one of the company’s many success stories.

A third group who will feature twice in the next week is the dynamic Soweto Opera Quadro.

They consist of four classically-trained singers with a devout following, who have been together since 2003. With their wide, eclectic repertoire they’ve reached many overseas audiences.

A recent performance in Soweto was a collaboration with the Drakensberg Boys Choir.

They received a standing ovation from an audience of over a thousand admirers.

Each of these groups have their own identity. Inferno Opera usually asks the audience which arias they would like to hear and, once they’re receptive, they’re invited to sing along. The classically-trained singers are Lawrence Joffe, Raymond Tyack, Debbie Joffe and Adrian Galliard.

They are accompanied by pianist Neil Bennet.

The four singers from Opera Africa will not only perform some of the most beloved arias, but will also be heard in a number of operatic ensembles.

This company’s reputation of not only nurturing home-grown talent, but including such singers in their full-scale productions of major operatic repertoire, brings with it an international reputation that is without peer.

Bookings: Computicket. Dinner packages at a special price of R230 are available on Wednesday and Thursday.

The performances between today and Sunday are as follows:

• Tonight at 8pm: Inferno Opera; Tomorrow and Sunday at 8pm: Soweto Opera Quadro; Thursday at 8pm: Opera Africa.