Phenye Modiane. Picture: Supplied
Phenye Modiane. Picture: Supplied

Phenye Modiane to honour top tenors Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza in concert

By Kedibone Modise Time of article published Jun 4, 2021

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Renowned South African tenor Phenye Modiane teams up with Steinway artist and celebrated pianist, Charl du Plessis for an unforgettable experience for opera lovers in honour of classical music giants Enrico Caruso and Mario Lanza

The Aardklop Aubade classical music concert series in collaboration with Affies presents Caruso & Lanza in Africa on Sunday, June 6 at 11am.

Lanza and Caruso reigned supreme as the top tenor voices in history.

This year marks a century milestone for these iconic tenors.

Elaborating on the event, Modiane said: ”The concert is about celebrating the music made famous by Enrico Caruso, who died 100 years ago, and Mario Lanza, who was born 100 years ago in Africa.

“Music lovers can expect to hear the beautiful melodies they have come to love through recordings of these two famous tenors.”

The concert will feature the biggest arias, Neapolitan songs and favourites from musicals as sung by these two unforgettable singers. The programme includes well known favourites such as  “O sole Mio”, “Una Furtiva Lagrima”, “Granada” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone” among other works made famous by Caruso and Lanza.

The Ga-Rankuwa-born star has performed in numerous productions for Opera Africa from Carmen to Cosi fan Tutte and La Traviata.

Modiane joined Gauteng Opera in 2017 where he served as artistic director until 2019.

In May 2019, he performed at Malmö Opera Theatre in Sweden as part of the Star For Life fundraising concert.

He is currently the founder and managing director of Johannesburg Opera NPC which was introduced to the public in December 2019.

Like many musicians, Modiane discovered his passion for music in church, during his teenage years.

“I started singing from primary school and have been singing until high school but I discovered I have a voice while singing in the Lutheran church in Ga-Rankuwa.

“I am forever grateful to my high school choir teacher and conductor, the late Mrs JC Motshwane, who introduced me to opera music in 2002. My love for music grew, that I decided to go study opera,” Modiane said.

Phenye said that while more young black people are being exposed to classical music in South Africa, he would like to see more work opportunities created for our youth.

“Young black people are exposed to classical music through the Department of Education's School Eisteddfod. We need to create more work, performance opportunities and support for all these young people who are studying opera and classical music,” he said.

Modiane also urged South Africans to support artists affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The arts need the support of every person to purchase a ticket and support whatever is going around. Artists have suffered enough and still need the support of the government, the private sector and everyone to get back to their feet,” Modiane said.

He said that despite the Covid-19 challenges, he continues to perform, produce concerts and productions and also teach, coach, and mentor young musicians.

“Since the pandemic, we have been able to create online concerts which were exciting for the first two months and I had to rethink the strategy.

“Now we have added Pop-Up opera, which is for a small group, family, friends or work colleagues who need smaller-scale entertainment and we have also added home garden concerts for small groups,” he adds.

Catch the Caruso & Lanza in Africa on Sunday, June 6 at Affies, in Elandspoort, Pretoria.

Tickets are available at Ticketpro from R100.

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