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Friday, October 2, 2020


(Right: Sibongiseni Reuben Mbonambi)

In this week’s issue of At Home with the KZN Phil, the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra presents a recording from last year's Early Spring season. The conductor is Lykele Temmingh.

Guiseppe Verdi ushers viewers a front seat into a tragic Italian setting where love, loss, deceit, vindication and victory reveal themselves sequentially. 

The scene comes from his opera Simon Boccanegra where a tortured paternal soul gives life to the aria A te l’estremo addio... Il lacerato spirito. Performing this together with the KZN Philharmonic is bass singer Sibongiseni Reuben Mbonambi. Mbonambi is a budding product of the UCT Opera School and a past performer at the KZNPO National Youth Concerto Festival.

Written in 1857 for La Scala, Milan, Giuseppe Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra, an opera with a prologue and three acts, was set to an Italian libretto by Francesco Maria Piave, based on the play Simón Bocanegra by Antonio García Gutiérrez, whose play El trovador had been the basis for Verdi’s 1853 opera, Il trovatore. The corsair, Simon Boccanegra, has agreed to stand as Doge of Genoa, hoping that the nobleman Fiesco will allow his marriage to Maria, his daughter. Fiesco disapproves of Boccanegra and has imprisoned Maria in his palace to keep the lovers apart. But Maria has died after giving birth to Boccanegra’s child. Mourning his daughter’s death, Fiesco rages against the absent Boccanegra and accuses the Virgin Mary of not protecting his daughter. Embedded in the despair underlying this emblematic aria, The Tortured Soul, which is built around one of the most beautiful of melodies that Verdi ever wrote for the lyric bass voice, is an admonition for all mankind to make the most of the present, because in the hope and joy of today lie the recipes for future anxieties. (Programme Notes: © William Charlton-Perkins, 2019)

(Left: Conductor: Lykele Temmingh)

Lykele Temmingh was born in the Netherlands and raised in South Africa. After completing his B.Mus. (Performers) at the University of Stellenbosch he began his career as a violinist with orchestras in Cape Town, Bloemfontein and Durban. He joined the second violin section of the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra during its inaugural season in 1983 and was later appointed co-principal of the section.

In 1991, he was appointed as the orchestra’s assistant conductor. In the same year he was the recipient of the SAA Performing Arts Award for his services to music. As both assistant and freelance conductor he has conducted a wide range of music: educational programmes, symphony concerts, outdoor popular programmes, major choral works, opera and ballet. The numerous musicals he has conducted include The Sound of Music, Showboat, Evita, Oliver!, Annie and The Wizard of Oz.

Now as a resident conductor of the KZN Philharmonic, Temmingh appears regularly on the orchestra’s concert podium. In 2004, he proudly accepted the role of selector and conductor of the National Youth Concerto Festival. Temmingh was appointed Artistic Director and conductor of the KZN Youth Orchestra in 2006. In 2013, he accompanied 55 members of the KZN Youth Orchestra to Germany where they performed with the Bremen Youth Orchestra. They also toured to the university town of Jena. Lykele Temmingh has conducted master classes with Robert Benzi, David Tidboald and Victor Yampolsky.

South African bass, Reuben Mbonambi, is currently a First Year Student at the University of Cape Town. Reuben was born in Northern KwaZulu-Natal and sang in his Primary and High School choirs, and also at church. He thereafter studied at Mangosuthu University of Technology, graduating in Marketing Management. While he was there, he joined the University Choir, and was often a soloist. He has sung operatic roles in The Magic Flute (Sarastro), Banco in Macbeth, and Raimondo in Lucia di Lammermoor. He participated in the Arts and Culture Competition in 2013/14 and in the Amazwi Omzansi Competition in 2018. He was privileged to be invited to participate in the Royal Opera House Masterclasses held at Diemersfontein in South Africa last August.

Click here to listen to Verdi's A te l’estremo addio… Il lacerato spirit from Simon Boccanegra -

If you wish to support the KZN Philharmonic, donations will be most welcome:

KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra

FNB: Durban Main Branch

Branch Code: 221426

Current Acc No: 62001363689