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Sunday, August 23, 2015


(Owen Metsileng, winner of the first prize)

The Amazwi Omzansi Africa Trust National Opera Singing Competition 2015 was held in Durban at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Howard College Theatre over the weekend of August 15 and 16, with the semi-finals taking place on Saturday and the finals on Sunday.

First Prize went to Owen Metsileng (baritone) who was awarded the Diemersfontein Prize of R10,000. Second Prize of R5,000 was presented to Caroline Modiba (soprano), while Khumbuzile Dlamini (soprano) and Luvuyo Mbundu (baritone) were jointly awarded Third Prize, each winning R3,000. The Audience Prize of R2,000 (following a popular vote by audience members) went to Caroline Modiba.

Cash prizes donated by Durban-based arts benefactor, Dr Sicelo Nkwanyana, topped up the prizes presented to the winner, second place winner, and the two singers sharing third place, with the competition winner Owen Metsileng receiving an additional R5,000, 2nd Prize Winner Caroline Modiba an additional R3,000, and joint 3rd Prize winners Khumbuzile Dlamini and Luvuyo Mbundu each receiving R1,000.

Cash prizes of R1,000 each were also awarded by Dr Nkwanyana to the other finalists who were not placed in the top three positions. They included Slindo Zondo (soprano), Godfrey Zunguza (bass), Tshilidzi Ndou (baritone), Charity Leburu (soprano), Thabiso Masemene (tenor), Emmanuel Maqoma (bass), S'Bongile Mntambo (soprano), Wayne Mkhize (Tenor) and Mbali Msimelelo (bass).

Two other prizes included the Chairman of the Panel Prize 2015 of R2,000 which went to Msimelelo Mbali (bass), and the Most Promising Singer Prize of R2,000 which was awarded to Slindo Zondo (soprano).All the singers in the finals were accompanied by British pianist Annette Saunders.

The acclaimed South African born, British-based baritone, Njabulo Madlala, Amanzi Omzansi Africa’s Founder and Chairman, headed the panel of judges. This included: Dr Sibongile Khumalo (SA); Sally Burgess (UK); Violina Anguelov (SA/Bulgaria); Neal Thornton (UK); Dr Bronwen Forbay (SA/USA); Marcus Desando (SA); Vetta Wise (SA/UK) and Susan Sonnenberg (SA).

Speaking on behalf of the panel, Vetta Wise commented on the extraordinarily high level of singing encountered in this year’s competition. She encouraged each young artist to continue learning and polishing their artistic attainments, while following their dreams of making singing their careers. In closing, she lauded Njabulo Madlala for his unstinting commitment in enabling so many young potential operatic stars to find a platform for their talent.

Madlala thanked all the sponsors who supported the event.