Venue: La Trinita
Date: 14 June
Gauteng Opera Interns
Family matters “A Tribute to Donizetti”
The evening will be a celebration of two operas composed by the Bel Canto composer Gaetano Donizetti. The cast is all members of the Gauteng Opera Internship and Trainee programme.
Composer: Gaetano Donizetti
Venue: Tin Town Theatre
Dates: 8, 9, 10 June
Duration: 1hr, 40 min (with interval)
Rita (1 act opera)
Rita Litho Nqai ++
Peppe Phenye Modiane+
Gaspar Chuma Sijeqa++
Bartolo Kanyiso Kula*
Don Pasquale Chuma Sijeqa++
Dr Malatesta Solly Motaung++
Ernesto Kagiso Boroko+
Norina Zita Pretorius++
Carlino(Notary) Lindo Maso*
Gauteng Opera Academy* Gauteng Opera Debut# Gauteng Opera Soloist+ Gauteng Opera Interns++)
Rita, ou Le mari battu (Rita, or The Beaten Husband) is an opéra comique in one act, composed by Gaetano Donizetti to a French libretto by Gustave Vaëz. The opera, a domestic comedy consisting of eight musical numbers connected by spoken dialogue, was completed in 1841 under its original title Deux hommes et une femme (Two Men and a Woman). Never performed in Donizetti’s lifetime, Rita premiered posthumously at the Opéra-Comique in Paris on 7 May 1860.
At an inn belonging to Rita, the tyrannical and abusive wife of the timid Peppe, the couple finds that their lives are thrown into turmoil with the unexpected arrival of Gaspar, Rita’s first husband, whom all believed to have drowned. In reality, Gaspar had run away to Canada. Believing that Rita has died in a fire, Gaspar has returned to obtain her death certificate so that he can remarry. When the two meet, Gaspar tries to run away. Peppe, however, sees this as an opportunity to free himself from Rita’s slaps because Gaspar is her legitimate husband. The two men agree to a game such that whoever wins has to remain with Rita. Both try to lose, but ultimately the winner is Gaspar. Yet Rita, who had suffered frequently from the hand of Gaspar, refuses to return to be his wife. Gaspar, pretending he has lost the hand, induces Peppe to declare his love for Rita and his firm intention to remain as her husband. The crafty Gaspar, having achieved his purpose, takes his leave from the reconciled couple.
Don Pasquale (Act 2 finale)
Don Pasquale is an opera buffa, or comic opera, in three acts by Gaetano Donizetti with an Italian libretto completed largely by Giovanni Ruffini as well as the composer. It was based on a libretto by Angelo Anelli for Stefano Pavesi‘s opera Ser Marcantonio written in 1810 but, on the published libretto, the author appears as “M.A.”
Malatesta arrives with Norina in tow, and introduces her to Pasquale as his sister, Sofronia, fresh out of the convent. Pasquale is smitten, and Norina plays the part of a dutiful, modest and submissive lady, to Pasquale’s satisfaction. Norina consents to the proposed marriage, which delights Pasquale. He wants to send for the notary to conduct the ceremony straight away – conveniently, Malatesta has brought one along, who waits in the antechamber.
Malatesta fetches the supposed notary, as servants arrange a table. Taking his seat, the “notary” writes out a marriage contract as dictated by Malatesta and Pasquale (Fra da una parta – “Between, on one hand”), where the Don bequeaths all his estate to be administrated by Sofronia. The contract is quickly drawn up: Pasquale signs but, before Norina can affix her signature, Ernesto bursts in. Intending to say a final farewell, he is amazed to see Norina about to marry Pasquale. However, Malatesta persuades him not to say anything (Figliol non mi far scene – “Son, don’t make a scene”), and he is forced to act as the final witness much to Don Pasquale’s delight.
As soon as the contract is signed, Norina abandons her pretence of docility, and refuses Pasquale’s embrace. She announces her intention to teach him manners, and to have Ernesto as a gallant to accompany her on evening strolls. Pasquale is horrified at this transformation, while Malatesta and Ernesto can barely conceal their amusement (È rimasto là impietrato – “He stands there, petrified”). Summoning the household staff, Norina recites a long list of demands – more servants (young and handsome at that), carriages and horses, furniture – and instructs them to spare no expense doubling all their wages. Pasquale is stricken at his misfortune, so Malatesta urges him to go to bed.
Composer: Giacomo Puccini
libretto: by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa,
Venue: The Mandela, Joburg Theatre
Dates: 18. 20, 22, 23 July 2017
Duration: 2hrs, 30 min (with interval)
Mimi Khayakazi Madlala *
Musetta Litho Nqai ++
Rodolfo Phenye Modiane +
Marcelo Solly Motaung ++
Shaunard Chuma Sijeqa ++
Colline Vuyani Mlinde
Alcindoro Kagiso Boroko +
Benoit Kagiso Boroko+
Parpignol Godfrey Lepholletsa ++
Sargente Tshepo Masuku *
Gauteng Opera Academy* Gauteng Opera Debut# Gauteng Opera Soloist+ Gauteng Opera Interns++)
Marcus Tebogo Desando
La bohème is an opera in four acts, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio, conducted by the young Arturo Toscanini; its U.S. premiere took place the following year, 1897, in Los Angeles. Since then, La bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.
Marcello is painting while Rodolfo gazes out of the window. They complain of the cold. To keep warm, they burn the manuscript of Rodolfo’s drama. Colline, the philosopher, enters shivering and disgruntled at not having been able to pawn some books. Schaunard, the musician of the group, arrives with food, wine and cigars. He explains the source of his riches: a job with an eccentric English gentleman, who ordered him to play his violin to a parrot until it died. The others hardly listen to his tale as they set up the table to eat and drink. Schaunard interrupts, telling them that they must save the food for the days ahead: tonight, they will all celebrate his good fortune by dining at Cafe Momus, and he will pay.
The friends are interrupted by Benoît, the landlord, who arrives to collect the rent. They flatter him and ply him with wine. In his drunkenness, he begins to boast of his amorous adventures, but when he also reveals that he is married, they thrust him from the room—without the rent payment—in comic moral indignation. The rent money is divided for their evening out.
Marcello, Schaunard and Colline go out, but Rodolfo remains alone for a moment to finish an article he is writing, promising to join his friends soon. There is a knock at the door. It is a girl who lives in another room in the building. Her candle has blown out, and she has no matches; she asks Rodolfo to light it. She is briefly overcome with faintness, and Rodolfo helps her to a chair and offers her a glass of wine. She thanks him. After a few minutes, she says that she is better and must go. But as she turns to leave, she realizes that she has lost her key.
Her candle goes out in the draught and Rodolfo’s candle goes out too; the pair stumble in the dark. Rodolfo, eager to spend time with the girl, to whom he is already attracted, finds the key and pockets it, feigning innocence. He takes her cold hand (Che gelida manina – “What a cold little hand”) and tells her of his life as a poet, then asks her to tell him more about her life. The girl says her name is Mimì (Sì, mi chiamano Mimì – “Yes, they call me Mimì”), and describes her simple life as an embroiderer. Impatiently, the waiting friends call Rodolfo. He answers and turns to see Mimì bathed in moonlight (duet, Rodolfo and Mimì: O soave fanciulla – “Oh lovely girl”). They realize that they have fallen in love. Rodolfo suggests remaining at home with Mimì, but she decides to accompany him to the Cafe Momus. As they leave, they sing of their newfound love.
A great crowd, including children, has gathered with street sellers announcing their wares (chorus: Aranci, datteri! Caldi i marroni! – “Oranges, dates! Hot chestnuts!”). The friends arrive; Rodolfo buys Mimì a bonnet from a vendor, while Colline buys a coat and Schaunard a horn. Parisians gossip with friends and bargain with the vendors; the children of the streets clamor to see the wares of Parpignol, the toy seller. The friends enter the Cafe Momus.
As the men and Mimì dine at the cafe, Musetta, formerly Marcello’s sweetheart, arrives with her rich (and elderly) government minister admirer, Alcindoro, whom she is tormenting. It is clear she has tired of him. To the delight of the Parisians and the embarrassment of her patron, she sings a risqué song (Musetta’s waltz: Quando me’n vo’ – “When I go along”), hoping to reclaim Marcello’s attention. The ploy works; at the same time, Mimì recognizes that Musetta truly loves Marcello. To be rid of Alcindoro for a bit, Musetta pretends to be suffering from a tight shoe and sends him to the shoemaker to get her shoe mended. Alcindoro leaves, and Musetta and Marcello fall rapturously into each other’s arms.
The friends are presented with their bill. Schaunard’s purse has gone missing and no one else has enough money to pay. The sly Musetta has the entire bill charged to Alcindoro. The sound of a military band is heard, and the friends leave. Alcindoro returns with the repaired shoe seeking Musetta. The waiter hands him the bill and, dumbfounded, Alcindoro sinks into a chair.
At the toll gate at the Barrière d’Enfer (late February)
Peddlers pass through the barriers and enter the city. Mimì appears, coughing violently. She tries to find Marcello, who is currently living in a little tavern where he paints signs for the innkeeper. She tells him of her hard life with Rodolfo, who abandoned her the night before, and of Rodolfo’s terrible jealousy (O buon Marcello, aiuto! – “Oh, good Marcello, help me!”). Marcello tells her that Rodolfo is asleep inside, and expresses concern about Mimì’s cough. Rodolfo wakes up and comes out looking for Marcello. Mimì hides and overhears Rodolfo first telling Marcello that he left Mimì because of her coquettishness, but finally confessing that his jealousy is a sham: he fears she is slowly being consumed by a deadly illness (most likely tuberculosis, known by the catchall name “consumption” in the nineteenth century). Rodolfo, in his poverty, can do little to help Mimì and hopes that his pretended unkindness will inspire her to seek another, wealthier suitor (Marcello, finalmente – “Marcello, finally”).
Out of kindness towards Mimì, Marcello tries to silence him, but she has already heard all. Her weeping and coughing reveal her presence, and Rodolfo hurries to her. Musetta’s laughter is heard and Marcello goes to find out what has happened. Mimì tells Rodolfo that she is leaving him, and asks that they separate amicably (Mimì: Donde lieta uscì – “From here she happily left”); but their love for one another is too strong for the pair to part. As a compromise, they agree to remain together until the spring, when the world is coming to life again and no one feels truly alone. Meanwhile, Marcello has found Musetta, and the couple quarrel fiercely about Musetta’s flirtatiousness: an antithetical counterpoint to the other pair’s reconciliation (quartet: Mimì, Rodolfo, Musetta, Marcello: Addio dolce svegliare alla mattina! – “Goodbye, sweet awakening in the morning!”).
(some months later)
Marcello and Rodolfo are trying to work, though they are primarily talking about their girlfriends, who have left them and found wealthy lovers. Rodolfo has seen Musetta in a fine carriage and Marcello has seen Mimì dressed like a queen. The men both express their nostalgia (duet: O Mimì, tu più non torni – “O Mimì, will you not return?”). Schaunard and Colline arrive with a very frugal dinner and all parody eating a plentiful banquet, dance together and sing, before Schaunard and Colline engage in a mock duel.
Musetta suddenly appears; Mimì, who took up with a wealthy viscount after leaving Rodolfo in the spring, has left her patron. Musetta found her that day in the street, severely weakened by her illness, and Mimì begged Musetta to bring her to Rodolfo. Mimì, haggard and pale, is assisted onto a bed. Briefly, she feels as though she is recovering. Musetta and Marcello leave to sell Musetta’s earrings to buy medicine, and Colline leaves to pawn his overcoat (Vecchia zimarra – “Old coat”). Schaunard leaves with Colline to give Mimì and Rodolfo some time together. Mimì tells Rodolfo that her love for him is her whole life (aria/duet, Mimì and Rodolfo: Sono andati? – “Have they gone?”).
To Mimì’s delight, Rodolfo presents her with the pink bonnet he bought her, which he has kept as a souvenir of their love. They remember past happiness and their first meeting—the candles, the lost key. Suddenly, Mimì is overwhelmed by a coughing fit. The others return, with a gift of a muff to warm Mimì’s hands and some medicine. Mimì gently thanks Rodolfo for the muff, which she believes is a present from him, reassures him that she is better and falls asleep. Musetta prays. Schaunard discovers that Mimì has died. Rodolfo rushes to the bed, calling Mimì’s name in anguish, weeping helplessly as the curtain falls
Venue: La Trinita
Date: 13 September
Gauteng Opera Interns
Cradle under the Shade
Composer and Librettist: Matthew MacFarlane
Times: Weekdays at 10:00, 11:30 & 13:00 Saturdays at 10:00 & 12:00
Where: Gauteng Opera Offices, 5-7 Miriam Makeba Street, Ferreirastown – Jhb
Duration: 30 Minutes – no interval
Tickets: R50.00 per child
Chuma Sijeqa ++ #
Zita Pretorius ++
Lindo Maso *
Khayakazi Madlala *
Litho Nqai ++ #
Solly Motaung ++
(Gauteng Opera Academy* Gauteng Opera Debut# Gauteng Opera Soloist+ Gauteng Opera interns ++)
Tshepo Ratona & Lungile Cindi
Cradle under the shade is a 30-minutes one-act opera from composer, Matthew Macfarlane and director Tshepo Ratona with production design by Lungile Cindi. The opera was commissioned by Gauteng Opera in 2016.
The Cradle Under the Shade is based on a sub-Saharan bushmen myth about how the world was created. It plays out from the perspective of a father telling his children the story around a fire one night. As the father begins to narrate, we are transported into the mythical world and get a first-hand view of how the story unfolds.
A very long time ago, people and animals did not live in the world as we know it today. They all lived deep below the earth’s surface in peace and harmony. People and animals could communicate with each other. The world below was an idyllic place where it was always comfortably warm and light. This world was created by the great Kang, lord of all life. This was his world and these were his people.
Kang appointed an elder amongst his people. The elder was known as Mama who was a mother figure to all. He bestowed upon Mama great wisdom and knowledge. Kang was the great creator after all and was not always around in person, so he relied on Mama to be a guide, educator and mediator for the people.
Kang was very pleased with the world below, but being the creative force that he was, he was constantly coming up with new ideas. One day, he was inspired to create a world even more marvellous and spectacular than the world below. This world, he would build above the earth’s surface. Kang told Mama of his plan and created the world above. Once it was complete, he summoned all the people and animals to enter the new world above. He instructed them to climb up the roots of the trees, and to crawl through the tunnels that he made. Up and out into the new world.
The new world was truly awe inspiring but Kang had something very important to tell the people before he left them alone to explore. He told them that this world was beautiful but fragile and because of this, they should never make a fire as it would spell disaster to the fragile balance of things. With that explicit instruction he left, and they were free to explore and get to know their new world. At the end of the day, the sun began to set and it grew darker and colder. This was the first-time people had ever experienced such a phenomenon because in the world below it was always light and warm.
They started getting scared because of this, but Mama reminded them of Kang’s instructions and assured them that everything would be all right once they were used to it. Mama wanted to do a bit of exploring before the sun set completely so she told them not to wander too far away while she was gone. Once Mama was away, and it got darker, a disobedient child saw this as an opportunity to show off. He thought that if he made a fire, everyone would consider him a hero for providing light and warmth. Disregarding Kang and Mama, the naughty child made a fire. The animals were frightened by the fire and ran away. They fled to the caves, trees and mountains. Anywhere they felt the humans and the fire could not easily reach them.
The peace and harmony between people and animals was broken. Mama returned and found out what had happened. She knew that the world was now forever different and that she would have to use her knowledge to survive in this imperfect world. She punished the naughty boy, making him work the hardest and not allowing him the freedom to play and explore until he learnt his lesson. Kang sensed that a fire was made and was deeply hurt. He felt betrayed because to him the fire meant that the people did not trust him or respect his precious world of peace and harmony. Since then Kang did not visit his people. Instead, he watches from a distance. Waiting to see if harmony will ever be restored.
Father finishes the story and tells his children that they should treat animals with respect because they were our dear friends a long time ago before the fire scared them away. All life on earth is precious.
So, bring your children to experience this fascinating story while introducing them to Opera.
Safe parking available behind Gauteng Opera offices – corner of Anderson & Margaret Mcingana Streets.
A Christmas Concert
Venue: Linder Auditorium
Gauteng Opera Interns
Gauteng Opera Trainees