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Friday, April 3, 2015


(Aubrey Lodewyk)

Think Easter in Durban and Handel's Messiah, generally regarded as the greatest masterpiece of music ever composed in England, immediately comes to mind. This internationally acclaimed and well-loved oratorio makes a welcome return when it is performed live at The Playhouse on Easter Sunday, April 5.

Featuring the cream of local and internationally-trained opera singers, who will be accompanied by massed choirs and the ever-green KZN Philharmonic, the production has grown in popularity over the years and is now regarded as one of the major highlights of KwaZulu-Natal's arts calendar. The demand for tickets is traditionally high, so early booking is essential.

The story line for Messiah focuses on the biblical Nativity, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection.  So enduring is its popularity that it is now performed every year in many corners around the globe, at venues that range from tiny community halls to the world's leading concert venues.

Among the leading soloists at the performance on Easter Sunday will be Khumbuzile Dhlamini; Violina Anguelov; July Zuma and Aubrey Lodewyk.

Young award-winning soprano Khumbuzile Dhlamini has appeared in a number of concerts with KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and in the Opera Africa's staging of Puccini's La Bohème and La Traviata at the State Theatre in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Theatre. Many local music fans will remember her as one of the soloists in the closing ceremony of the French/ South Africa Season and her performance at the King's Concert hosted by the City of eThekwini. She appeared as a soprano soloist in the Playhouse's stage version of both Hymn of Praise as well as Handel's Messiah.

Bulgarian-born mezzo soprano, Violina Anguelov is a singer who has performed with distinction and acclaim both in South Africa and abroad. She has an extensive repertoire, singing roles such as Rosina in The Barber of Seville, Marguerite in Berlioz’s La Damnation de Faust, Ruggiero in Alcina, Nerone in L’Incoronazione di Poppea, Hänsel in Hänsel and Gretel, and Idamante in Idomeneo. Violina also boasts a vast repertoire of sacred works.

Durban-born tenor, July Zuma, who has studied opera both at the University of Cape Town Opera School and the Conservatori Superior de Música del Liceu in Barcelona, Spain, is a newcomer to the Playhouse cast for Messiah. He has performed in numerous international concerts and festivals and in July 2014, made his debut with Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen in SommerLesmona.

Baritone Aubrey Lodewyk has come a long way with his operatic career since joining the Cape Town Opera Studio in 2006.One of the highlights of his career was in 2011 when he performed the role of Mandela in the world premiere of Mandela Trilogy in South Africa and again in its European debut in Cardiff. Other highlights include performances at the New Israeli Opera in Tel Aviv and the Mandela Day celebration concert in Paris.

The Easter Sunday performance of Messiah directed by Ralph Lawson will take place in the Playhouse Opera at 16h00 and will be accompanied by the KZN Philharmonic. Tickets for the performance range from R95 to R110 and are available through Computicket.  For special group bookings contact 031 369 9456.