national Arts Festival Banner

Friday, February 16, 2018


(Timothy Sehau, Ayanda Zwane & Mlindi Pato)

Meet I Grandi Tenori – the force that has been making headlines on our cultural circuit.

As their title heroically proclaims, the proudly South African operatic threesome known as I Grandi Tenori is comprised of a super-talented trio made up of three of the finest members of our country’s new-generation stars-in-the-making. They are Ayanda Fitwell Zwane, Kananelo Timothy Sehau and Mlindi Aubrey Pato - three tenors who perform under artistic directorship of Sanele Mkhize.

Established in 2011, the talented singers, led and directed by Kwazi Theophilus Mhlongo, emanated from the South African Choral fraternity. The group was formed to lead the exploration of opera and classical music within the country and abroad.

Looking back on their immediate past, the singers acknowledge that 2017 brought with it much joy, enabling them to they take pride in the mileage they covered in service to our communities.

Highlights of the year included their debut three-hour concert in Durban City Hall, addressed by Dr Zweli Mkhize and The Executive Mayor of eThekwini- Her Worship Cllr Zandile Gumede.

Another landmark event was the “My freedom is My Pride” benefit concert which raised R56,000 towards assisting middle learners with tertiary registration fees.

The year also saw the staging of the Let Me Sing Opera Competition for the high school learners. This resulted in the handing over of R17,500 cash prizes and setting up a bursary worth R170,000.

Further important milestones in 2017 were a Spring Evening Concert in partnership with University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Opera School and Choral Academy (OSCA); and the hugely successful Christmas Opera Evening, presented at the Durban Jewish Club in collaboration with Friends of Music, the KZN Department of Art & Culture; as well as Ikusasa Le Afrika Foundation.

I Grandi Tenori takes pride in the considerable repertoire it has built, from its remarkable performances. These have become engraved in the hearts of our people in a wide spectrum of momentous occasions that have been graced by their participation - awards ceremonies, gala-dinners, conferences, pageants, weddings, summits, and corporate- and black-tie events!

Run as a registered non-profit company (registration number 2016/095435/08) under the section Education and Training, I Grandi Tenori not only seeks to render world classes performances on stage, but also to instil in determined youth the ability to hone a variety of talents in different fields. The operational team consists of artists, researchers, graduates, pianists, academics and leaders of great calibre. Proper planning and thorough research is done in order to come up with a model which promotes innovation in the Opera/Classical/Choral Music industry.

Guided by principles and policies which are in line with the constitution of South Africa, the company was formed not only to foster singing, but on the basis of empowering and enabling disadvantaged youth to shine in the field of Opera music and live the dream of being successful opera artists. Most of the team members come from communities and schools where Opera music is not well recognized. As part of the empowering strategy, the team is committed to visiting youth in disadvantaged communities in order to provide full training as well as career guidance and motivation in general.

I Grandi Tenori is currently working on a project with Friends of Music which aims to showcase young musical and operatic talent.

For more information contact Kwazi Mhlongo on 073 1938 032 or email or visit