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Monday, March 6, 2017


(Sibongile Mngoma)

Hear the brightest South African opera talent in Pietermaritzburg and Pinetown! South African diva Sibongile Mngoma (soprano) and tenor Sandile Mabaso present an opera recital at the Pinetown Methodist Church on March 18 and The Tatham Art Gallery on March 19. They will be joined by The Vusisizwe Choral Society from KwaNdengezi, Pinetown, and will be accompanied on the piano by Midlands pianist, Lara Kirsten.

They will perform arias, duets and choruses from the world’s most beautiful operas. Mngoma will sing arias from Puccini’s La Boheme and Tosca and Mabaso will sing from Massenet’s Manon and Donizzeti’s L’elisir d’Amour. The Vusisizwe Choral Society will perform famous opera choruses from Don Pascuale and Cosi fan Tutti.

In 1993 Mngoma started her opera training at the South African College of Music, under the tutelage and mentorship of Professor Angelo Gobbato and Sarita Stern, furthering her musical studies at the prestigious Accademia Musicale Chigiana in Sienna (Italy). She has been taught by some of the world’s premier opera divas.

In 2015 Mngoma sang the role Winnie Mandela in world premiere of Sibusiso Njeza's production of Madiba An African Opera at the State Theatre. In 2012 she took part in the critically acclaimed tour of Porgy and Bess (singing the role of Bess) in the UK. Apart from her many opera roles, she has sung in light musicals and has been heard in extravaganzas like Skouspel, Afrikiti, Starlight Pops, Bravo China in collaboration with the Chinese government, the Last Night at the Proms, and Two Nations Celebrate in London, singing for Nelson Mandela and the Queen of England.

She has performed with all the major orchestras in South Africa including children’s orchestras as well as appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, the Royal Concert hall and the Coliseum in London, opera houses in Bari and Milan in Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Cannes, Munich, Rome and all the major opera houses and venues in South Africa.

Respected in the corporate circuit for the versatility of her sound, Mngoma also composes and arranges music.  She received two SAMA award nominations for her debut album - A Glimmer of Hope, an FNB Vita award for best female lead in Opera, Standard Young Artist award, and merit awards from the Accademia Chigiana, and UCT. She is also the 2014 recipient of the Mbokodo award for Opera and recently recorded a DVD of her production Opera meets Jazz.

Sandile Mabaso is a tenor from KZN. He began his musical training at the Drakensberg Boys’ Choir School, under the direction of Christian Ashley-Botha. In 2005 he obtained his Bachelor of Music from the University of Pretoria. He had his first professional engagement in 2006 singing the role of Inkos’ Mathole in Opera Africa’s touring production of Princess Magogo (Khumalo). He toured South Africa and The Netherlands with this production.  From 2006-2007 he was a member of the Cape Town Opera Vocal Ensemble where he toured to Germany, France and Sweden in the productions of Showboat (Kern) and Porgy and Bess (Gershwin).

In 2009 he began studying with Prof Werner Nel and was selected to participate in The International Baroque Symposium, held at the North West University, under the leadership of Kobie van Rensburg. In 2010 he sung the role of Acis in Acis and Galatea (Handel) also under the direction of Kobie van Rensburg. In 2012 he has sung the role of Puck in The Fairy Queen (Purcell) for Umculo Cape Festival.

In 2013 he was a finalist in the Mimi Coertse Singing Competition. In 2014 he made his solo debut with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra.

The German art-song has been his main focus along with his operatic endeavours. In 2012 he was invited to perform Dichterliebe (Schumann) at UNISA's annual An die Musik recital. He has also presented this work at the Wakkerstroom Arts Festival, Tatham Art Gallery. In 2013 he presented Brahms’ LiebesliederWalzer, opus 52 & 65 at the Odeion, Bloemfontein. In 2014, he sang On Wenlock Edge (Vaughan-Williams) in Pretoria. In 2015 He sung Die schone Mullerin in Stellenbosch. In 2015, he toured a programme of Baroque music with harpsichordist, Andrew Cruickshank along South Africa’s garden route.

The opera recitals take place at the Pinetown Methodist Church on March 18 at 19h00 and The Tatham Art Gallery on March 19 at 15h00. Tickets R110 (concessions R90). Tickets are available at