OSCA Achievements

REPORT 7

Reporting Period: 1 Dec 2004 - 31 May 2005

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • OSCA presented a concert to showcase the many talented voices in the studio. The concert featured the Opera and Choral Ensembles and solo singers in a semi-staged performance of opera excerpts. The performance was accompanied by piano.
  • The Opera Ensemble joined forces with the Northern KwaZulu-Natal Youth Choir to present a single performance of Young Voices in Heavenly Harmony. The conducting was shared between Prof David Smith and William Silk (a graduate of the former UND Music School).
  • OSCA students continued to perform on numerous public platforms both within and outside the university.

Special Projects

  • The following distinguished visitors led master-classes at OSCA during the reporting period: Prof. Barbara Hill-Moore (Southern Methodist University, Dallas); Mr Ralph MacDonald (University): Mr Christoph Genz (Germany)
  • Ms Bronwen Forbay, a graduate of the former University of Natal and the first South African singer to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, visited South Africa in April to compete in the first Unisa Southern Africa Voice Competition. During her stay she presented a master-class to OSCA students.
  • Six students volunteered to sing at special fund raising concert to provide food supplements for students during the exam period. This concert gave way to a special relationship with the Durban Rotary club who have provided food

REPORT 6

Reporting Period: 1 June 2004 - 30 November 2004

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • OSCA's production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel was presented for two performances at the Hexagon Theatre, UKZN, Pietermaritzburg (April).
  • OSCA mounted a double-bill in its own theatre for three performances in August, entitled Faces of Love. The Masque in Dioclesian by Purcell was presented by soloists and chorus, with dancers from the Flatfoot Student Dance Company and the Baroque 2000 Ensemble in the pit. An expanded orchestra under the baton of the African-American conductor Leslie Dunner accompanied a contemporary production of Act 1 of Così fan tutte by Mozart.
  • Singers from OSCA made their first appearance at the Hilton Festival (mid-September).
  • Ms Zenneth Cibane was invited to perform as soloist in the Christmas Concert of the Baroque 2000 Ensemble.
  • OSCA students continued to perform on numerous public platforms both within and outside the university. Two students, Mr Bonginkosi Cingani and Mr Sibusiso Mkhize, were selected to perform in the national finals for Queensland Opera's Young Artists Programme (YAP).
  • OSCA students were among the prizewinners of the Ethekwini Music Eisteddfod and the UKZN School of Music Classical Performers Competition.

Special Projects

  • Ms Bronwen Forbay, a graduate of the former University of Natal and the first South African singer to be awarded a Fulbright Scholarship, visited OSCA in June to conduct vocal clinics with students.
  • Mr Max Loppert spent a period in October as a visiting lecturer at the school that was, in origin, his idea. He led student tutorials and consulted with staff on a range of matters.
  • A second vocal ensemble, involving OSCA's choral students, was initiated at mid-year under Mr P Mnomiya.

REPORT 5

Reporting Period: 1 Dec 2003 - 31 May 2004

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • With the assistance of the Playhouse Company, including an NAC development grant of R50 000, OSCA mounted a production of Hansel and Gretel by Humperdinck in the Loft Theatre, Playhouse, Central Durban. Twenty-two performances were given in 26 days in December 2003, two casts alternating to provide one of the Playhouse's festive season productions. The intimate production was accompanied on piano, and directed by Brenda Lauth, OSCA's part-time drama teacher. Attendance totalled about 1 500 in a theatre of 130 capacity. OSCA was invited to present a further two performances at the Hexagon Theatre, Pietermaritzburg (April 2004).
  • As a host institution, OSCA provided a chorus for a semi-staged version (5 March 2004) of Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, brought to South Africa by the voice department of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas. The cast of soloists featured a number of South African singers currently training abroad.
  • Mr Selby Hlangu, a second-year diploma student, was selected through countrywide auditions to take up an eight-month scholarship with Queensland Opera (Brisbane) in their Young Artists' Programme. Mr Hlangu left the school for Australia in March 2004.
  • Ms Thandulwazi Ncube, who graduated with a Performers' Diploma in December 2003, was awarded a scholarship to enter the two-year Artists' Programme at Southern Methodist University, Dallas. She will begin her post-graduate studies in September 2004. Ms Ncube, along with two other post-graduate students (Ntokozo Xaba and Nomthandazo Mkize), appeared as soloists on an international tour of the oratorio uShaka by Mzilikazi Khumalo.
  • OSCA students continued to perform on numerous public platforms both within and outside the university.

Work with Opera Africa:

Though much of this company's work has been undertaken in Pretoria, two students from OSCA were selected to fill small solo roles for the performances of Princess Magogo at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago in late May. A recent OSCA graduate sung the role of the Third Lady. Two more students made the trip as members of the chorus.

Special Projects

  • A recital/master-class was given by the Cape Town soprano Angela Gilbert in February 2004. Sponsorship was provided by Music Revival, Durban Friends of Music and Copydog Editorial Enterprises.
  • With the support of the Italian Consulate and in association with the Società Dante Alighieri, OSCA hosted a Festival of Arie Antiche (8 May 2004), featuring young singers who had participated in a previous master-class given by the well-known South African soprano Emma Renzi (3 April 2004). The Festival concluded with a reception given by the Italian Consul in Durban, Dr Alessandro Prunas. It is hoped that this event will be mounted in succeeding years.
  • A chorus of 20 singers under Dr David Smith performed national anthems at the celebration of the Italian National Day (28 May 2004).

REPORT 4

Reporting Period: 1 June 2003 - 30 November 2003

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • The combined forces of the opera and choral students were supported by the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in a gala concert (19/20.9.2003) given to mark the formal inauguration of the new OSCA facility. Max Loppert (Italy) was special guest for this occasion, and spent a week in advance of it as a visiting teacher at the school.
  • A group of ten singers presented a programme of Opera Pops at the 2003 Convention of the South African Green Industries Council (5.6.2003). This corporate engagement was a successful advertisement for OSCA, and led to a further such performance, for the Association of Black Accountants of South Africa (18.7.2003). Both performances yielded financial rewards for individual performers and the school.
  • Ms Ntokozo Xaba appeared on international stages with the William Kentridge/Kevin Volans multi-media work The Confessions of Zeno.
  • Mss Xaba, Gumede and Ncube were invited by Richard Cock and Prof. Mzilikazi Khumalo to perform with orchestra in the annual Nation-Building concert in Johannesburg, the programme being subsequently televised by SATV.
  • As usual, students undertook numerous solo engagements in Durban and Pietermaritzburg during the reporting period.

Special Projects

  • Two specialist teachers from the music programme of the University of Gothenberg, Sweden, gave classes and assisted in rehearsals for a fortnight in September. This was the second time that our singing students had benefitted from the exchange scheme between the University of Natal and the University of Gothenberg, through the skills of Eva Näessén and Gunilla Gårdfeldt.
  • Five students and two staff members undertook a sponsored journey to the USA in October, and gave a fund-raising concert in the Tishman Auditorium, New School University, New York City on 14.10.2003. The event was organised by a volunteer committee in the US working in conjunction with the NUDF. A graduate of the UND music programme, currently studying in Dallas, also participated in the performance. The Vice-Chancellor of UN, Prof. William Makgoba, addressed a post-concert reception.
  • In preparation for a full-scale production of Humperdinck's Hansel and Gretel to be presented at the Playhouse through December 2003 (20 performances), a schools' version toured for four performances, each in a different and variously equipped venue. A cross-section of the city's learners was targeted, and some 2 200 learners attended the presentation.

REPORT 3

Reporting Period: 1 Dec 2002 - 31 May 2003

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • Ms Ntokozo Xaba, a master's student, was selected to replace Ms Ncube (see Report to the Atlantic Philanthropies, 30 Nov 2002) to perform internationally as one of two vocal soloists with The Confessions of Zeno, a collaboration by William Kentridge, Kevin Volans and the Handspring Puppet Company. OSCA staff assisted in her artistic preparation.
  • Ms Joyce Moholoagae began private studies in London in preparation for her registration in the diploma in opera studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, which begins in September 2003.
  • The opera ensemble and various student soloists were invited to appear as featured artists with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra (6.4.2003, Durban Botanical Gardens). Extracts from this concert were presented at the KZNPO's semester concert on the university campus (5.5.2003).
  • Soloists and chorus mounted a campus lunch-hour concert (14.5.2003)

Work with Opera Africa:

Three current students performed in comprimario roles in the season of Princess Magogo presented by Opera Africa at the State Theatre, Pretoria, in February.

Special Projects

  • A master-class was given (12.3.2003) by Professor Barbara Hill Moore of Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas.
  • With the assistance of a private sponsor, the school hosted a week-long visit by Ms Anna Aurigi (Florence), a specialist in Baroque style and interpretation. A concert of arie antiche was presented at the close of her master-classes (28.3.2003).

REPORT 2

Reporting Period: 1 June 2002 - 30 November 2002

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • Ms Lwazi Ncube, a third-year diploma student, took an entire year's leave of absence (2002), in order to tour internationally as one of two vocal soloists with The Confessions of Zeno, a collaboration by William Kentridge, Kevin Volans and the Handspring Puppet Company. OSCA staff assisted in her artistic preparation.
  • Ms Joyce Moholoagae, a third-year diploma student, was awarded a month-long study bursary by the Royal Overseas League (UK), to give recitals in Britain and to attend masterclasses at the Dartington International Summer School. She also auditioned and was accepted for a year-long post-graduate diploma in opera studies at the Royal Academy of Music, London, from September 2003. In addition, financial support will be sought to enable her to take up an offer of pre-diploma tuition in voice and languages in London from early 2003.
  • The main performance of the year was an Opera Gala, given by students, under the direction of a team of staff members, at the Playhouse Opera (Durban), on 30.10.2002. (Preview performance 29.10.2002) The project leaders used the occasion to invite a cross-section of interested parties from Durban and further afield, and hosted a function for invitees afterwards. The Gala included solos, ensembles and choruses, was accompanied by a 40-piece orchestra, and used both live narration and projections to convey the background of the Opera School initiative. Total attendance (two evenings): 950
  • On 12.11.2002, the ensemble (soloists and chorus) presented An Opera Garland, a full-evening performance, for the Durban Friends of Music. At their request, the concert featured largely repertoire not exposed at the Opera Gala.
  • Mr Mbhekiseni Mkhize, a third-year voice student, was selected to participate in the national finals for Queensland University's Young Artist's Programme award.

Special Projects

  • The educational visit to Gauteng was successfully undertaken. The pre-term chorus workshop was also run, though attendance at this vacation period was less than hoped for.

REPORT 1

Reporting Period: 1 Jan 2002 - 31 May 2002

Ensemble performances and individual student achievements:

  • The student opera ensemble, i.e. both soloists and chorus, gave two public performances on the university campus (27/03/02 and 31/05/02).
  • Three voice students (Mbhekiseni Mkhize, Sibusiso Mkhize, Ntokozo Xaba) were selected for a five-week exchange visit to Gothenberg University; Mrs Colleen Philp accompanied them for some of the time, and made presentations on vocal training.

Work with Opera Africa:

Two recent graduates (Nomthandazo Mkize, Joyce Moholoagae) and a current student (William Silk) were selected to play supporting roles in the new opera by Mzilikazi Khumalo, Princess Magogo, premiered in Durban in May. The opera received international radio coverage, including a live broadcast of the premiere and a radio documentary on the BBC World Service. Michael Church's programme included mention of the University Opera School and brief sound-bites of its chorus.

Other performances:

Besides numerous appearances by student soloists at functions in Durban, the junior members of the ensemble will present a programme of solos on the university campus (21/08/02). The full ensemble has been invited by the Durban Friends of Music to present a programme of Scenes from the Operas (12/11/02).


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