Composer: Giuseppe Verdi
Librettist: Francesco Maria Piave
Duration: Approximately 2 hrs. 35 min
La traviata is an opera in three acts by Giuseppe Verdi with Francesco Maria Piave’s libretto. The Opera is based on La dame aux Camélias (1852), a play adapted from the novel by Alexandre Dumas, fils.
The opera was originally entitled Violetta, after the main character.
Alfredo and Violetta (the courtesan) fall passionately in love with each other. Giorgio Germont (Alfredo’s father) who disapproves of their relationship convinces Violetta, not realizing that Violetta is very ill, that she must leave Alfredo, for the family’s sake. Alfredo, believing that Violetta has left him out of self-interest, is distraught and enraged. When Violetta is on her deathbed Giorgio Germont then understands what she was willing to sacrifice he then confesses to his son, Alfredo, who is with Violetta as she dies.
This will be the first concert performance by Gauteng Opera of a full length opera which is filled with beautiful tunes and characters that will resonate to the Gauteng audiences.
German-Dutch conductor Arjan Tien studied violin and viola at the Conservatory in Utrecht and conducting with George Hurst and Roberto Benzi in England and Switzerland. He finished his studies in Utrecht in 1994 summa cum laude. As a viola player he gave his solo debut with the Salzburg Chamber Soloists in Sao Paulo and Vitória in Brasil. Arjan Tien also was concert master at the Brabants Kammerorchester and solo violist at the Dutch National Youth Orchestra. From 1992 to 2004 he was a viola player at the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland. In 1997 Arjan Tien attended the International Conductor Master Class in La Chaux-de-Fonds in Switzerland. He received First Prize “Rotary-Faller”.
In 1998 he gave his debut at the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. That led to many further invitations from this and all other orchestras in South Africa. Between 1999 and 2001 he worked as assistant conductor at the Radio Filharmonisch Orkest Holland and the Dutch Opera Society.
In 2000 he took over the Dutch Youth Orchestra at short notice. In 2001 his debut with Concertgebouw Amsterdam. In 2002 he recorded the film music to De Tweeling with the Metropole Orchester. In 2003 he conducted the Netherlands Symphonic Orchestra. Both orchestras re-invited him immediately to conduct programs in 2004 and 2005. Arjan Tien’s vast repertoire stretches from baroque to classical and romantic to contemporary music and pop music. He conducted several world premieres, among them Deux Entr’actes Tragiques by Richard Wagner. Arjan Tien conducted various recordings for television, radio and CD. He performed in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Tury, Austria, Slovenia, Souch Africa, Sweden, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary. He conducted, among others, Sinfonieorchester Biel, KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra Durban, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Belgrad Filharmonische Orchester, Netherlands Radio Filharmonie, Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, Baroque 2000 in South Africa, Metropole Orchester and the Residentie Orchester.
In 2003 Arjan Tien assisted Ingo Metzmacher at a concert performance of The Makropoulos Case at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam. He also assisted at the De Nederlandes Opera in Amsterdam at Boris Godunov. In Hilversum he conducted Die Entführung aus dem Serail, in Nijmegen Cavalleria Rusticana and in South African Durban Dido and Aeneas. In 2005 he worked with, a.o., the Metropole Orchester, the Netherlands Symphony Orchestra, the Chamber Orchestra of South Africa, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchester as well as the Residentie Orchester.
In September 2006 he will become Chief Conductor and Artistic Leader of the newly founded Magogo Chamber Orchestra in the Dutch Tilburg. Furture plans include performances with most of the above mentioned orchestras as well as the Arnhem Philharmonic, the Residentie Orchestra, the Syros Festival Chamber Orchestra and the Antalya Symphony Orchestra. In 2007 Arjan Tien has been invited to conduct several opera performances; Les Contes d’ Hoffmann by Offenbach at the State Theatre in Pretoria with the Black Tie Ensemble, the world premiere of God’s Library by Krüs with Opera Spanga in the Netherlands as well as Verdi’s La Traviata and Die Fledermaus, Dido and Aeneas and Haydn’s L’Isola Disabitata in Tilburg. Arjan Tien teaches conducting at the Fontys Academy of Arts in Tilburg.
Originally from Pretoria Marcus (a Naledi awards nominee for best Actor in a Musical) started his Career with PACT in 1989 as a singer and in 1994 moved to Cape Town Opera (CAPAB) where his career as a director and principal singer started. As a singer Marcus sang in over 75 Operas, Musical theatre productions and Concerts in South Africa and abroad. He travelled the world Singing and directing with New York Harlem Productions, Really Useful Company, Pieter Toerien Productions and Cape Town Opera.
Marcus has had the honour of being invited by University of Stellenbosch, Tshwane University of Technology, UCT: college of music and UKZN OCSA (opera school) as a guest lecturer where he taught stage craft and also directed productions. His production of Rigoletto was recorded and televised by SABC 2.Marcus has already directed over 40 productions Opera ranging from Opera to Concerts; he was invited by the Windhoek Symphony Orchestra and the Free State Symphony Orchestra in 2012 to sing in Handel’s Messiah and Beethoven Symphony no9 respectively.
Mr Desando is currently CEO for Gauteng Opera(formerly Black Tie Ensemble), reading for his Master’s degree in Business science (MSc) with da Vinci institute and Chairman of SANOA (South African National Opera Association).
Rick Muselaers studied Music Education, Choral Conducting and Orchestral Conducting at the Fontys Conservatoire in Tilburg with Louis Buskens (choral conducting) and Arjan Tien (orchestral conducting). He continued his studies with Martin Wright in the Netherlands and in the United States.
Rick is currently conductor of several chamber choirs in the Netherlands and Music Director / Chorus Master of the ‘Zuid Nederlands Concert Koor’ (Symphony Chorus), which he established in 2008 (www.znck.nl).
He prepared the ‘Zuid Nederlands Concert Koor’ for many programs commissioned by several orchestras and conductors in the Netherlands (e.g.: Carmina Burana (C. Orff), The Planets (G. Holst), Petite Messe Solennelle (G. Rossini), Die Fledermaus (J. Strauss), Alexander Nevsky Cantata (S. Prokofiev), Symphony no.2 “Auferstehung” (G. Mahler) and A Sea Symphony (R. Vaughan Williams)).He assisted several maestri including maestro Arjan Tien (Magogo Chamber Orchestra (Netherlands), the WDR Rundfunkorchester (Cologne, Germany), the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra (Cape Town, South Africa) and during opera productions such as Puccini’s La Bohème and Mascagni’s Cavalleria Rusticana at the National Opera Festival of the Netherlands and the Fontys Conservatoire), maestro Martin Wright (Netherlands Radio Choir) and maestro Jaap van Zweden during Beethoven’s 9th symphony with the Dallas Symphony Orchestra and Chorus.
In July 2013 he prepared the chorus for Mahler’s 8th Symphony in Bangkok commissioned by the Opera Siam Bangkok. Thus working with choirs such as Bonifantes Boy Choir (Czech Republic), Chinese University of Hong Kong Chorus (China), Fairhaven Singers (UK), Bangkok Musical Society Choir (Thailand), Rangsit University Chamber Choir (Thailand), Montfort Children’s Choir (Thailand), Operachorus of the Opera Siam Bangkok (Thailand).
In September 2013 he was responsible for the National Opera Festival Chorus (Netherlands) for Puccini’s La Bohème. Rick was invited to give conducting masterclasses during the “Singfest” in Hong Kong, July 2014.
Rick has been appointed as the ambassador of the HHW School for Performing Arts in Chicago in September 2013
Bronwen Forbay, Phenye Modiane, Aubrey Lodewyk, Khumbuzile Dhlamini, Kagiso Boroko
A Fulbright Scholar born in Durban, South Africa, BRONWEN FORBAY has performed for both the late Nelson Mandela and Queen Elizabeth the Second. Her principal operatic roles include critically acclaimed performances of Mozart’s Queen of the Night with the Wolf Trap Opera Company, Eugene Opera, and Tulsa Opera.
Lead role successes include the title role in Lucia di Lammermoor and Violetta in La Traviata, both with the Cape Town Opera, as well as the title role in She never lost a passenger: the story of Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad with the Amarillo Opera. Upcoming performances include Velmyra in the premier of Wading Home, a twenty-first century opera by American composer Mary Alice Rich and author Rosalyn Story, in Dallas, TX, as well as a tour of Texas and South Africa of Brahms’ Liebeslieder, Neue Liebeslieder, and Zigeunerlieder.
Based in South Africa from 2009-2011 to fulfill her Fulbright home stay requirement, Ms. Forbay taught at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Opera Studio and Choral Academy while performing extensively throughout the country. Performances during that time include the title character in Lucia di Lammermoor with the Cape Town Opera, Haydn’s Lord Nelson Mass with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Soprano Soloist in South African composer Philip Miller’s REwind Cantata for Voice Tape and Testimony at the Royal Festival Hall in London.
Ms. Forbay maintains an extensive concert repertoire of standard and modern works including Bach’s B Minor Mass, Haydn’s Creation, Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis, Orff’s Carmina Burana, and Mozart’s Mass in c minor and Requiem, performed on tour in Venice, Verona and Vicenza (Italy) with Varna International.
Ms. Forbay has been successful in national and international competitions. A finalist in the 2013 National Opera Association Voice Competition, she won the 1st UNISA Southern African Voice Competition and CCM Sam Adams Award for “most outstanding performance in a CCM opera production” in 2005, won 3rd prize in both the 5th UNISA International Voice Competition and CCM Corbett Opera Scholarship Competition in 2006, and won the Standard Bank Young Artist Award for Music (a prestigious national South African award) in 2007.
Ms. Forbay has worked with many illustrious coaches including Nico Castel, Martha Gerhart, Warren Jones, and Kathryn LaBouff, and has performed in recital with world-renowned collaborative artist Steven Blier, Director of the New York Festival of Song (NYFOS). Her primary teachers include Hilda Harris, Barbara Hill Moore, Colleen Philp, and Kenneth Shaw. An avid recitalist, she has performed many successful recital tours of South Africa, and performed on the American Cathedral in Paris (France) Les Arts Georges V Recital Series in 2012.
Dr. Forbay holds a Bachelor of Music degree from the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban, a Master of Music degree from the Manhattan School of Music, an Artist Certificate from the Southern Methodist University, and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree in voice performance from the University of Cincinnati, CCM. She is the first South African woman to earn this qualification. Selected to perform a lecture recital on Afrikaans Art Songs, her doctoral research topic, at both the 2014 College Music Society’s National Conference and 2013 Texoma NATS Conference’s Artist Series, she was also chosen for the highly respected NATS Intern Program in 2013.
Dr. Forbay has participated in seminars taught by highly respected American artist-teacher, Barbara Honn, and has taught master classes in South Africa and the United States. Her South African students have been successful in local and national competitions, have performed with the Cape Town Opera, Opera Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, and have been on faculty at the University of KwaZulu-Natal and University of Stellenbosch. In the US, two of her students have appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway shows, while others have been semi-finalists in the Texoma NATS student auditions. Dr. Forbay was on faculty at Sam Houston State University from 2012-2014. She is currently on faculty at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Phenye Modiane was born and bred in Ga-Rankuwa. He started singing at an early age, in school choirs, church choir and community choirs. He matriculated at Modiri high school in 2002. In 2002, he represented North West Province at the Tirisano School Choir Eisteddfod (now called SASCE) as a solo tenor, under the guidance of the late Mrs J.C Motshwane. In 2003, he enrolled at Tshwane University of Technology under the guidance of Pierre du Toit.
There he sang in various choruses including school choruses, Salon Music and Opera Africa choruses. And also did the roles of Conte Ivrea in Un Giorno di Regno and Gherrardo in Gianni Schicchi, both school productions. He completed his Btech in Vocal Art in 2006. In 2011, he sang the role of El Ramendado in the Opera Africa production of Carmen. In March 2012, he sang the role of Guard in the newly composed opera of Ziyankomo by Mr Phelelani Mnomiya. He sang as a soloist in the BTE VO1SS production of Kyk hier staan ‘n nuwe mens and the Verdi Gala. Currently he is a member of Forté and he is also busy with his BMus Hons through Universty of Pretoria.
In 2005 he graduated from the Tshwane University of Technology with a National Diploma in Vocal Art, where he performed the roles of Malatesta in Don Paquale, Tesoriere in Un Giorno di Regno and the title role in Gianni Schicchi. In 2006 he did his postgrad studies at the University of Cape Town and joined the Cape Town Opera Studio and in 2008 he got appointed as Junior soloist at CTO and performed the roles of Gugliellmo in Cosi fan tutte, Albert in Werther, Belcore in L’elisir d’amore, Balintulo in Poet and Prophetess, Jake in Porgy and Bess.
Aubrey is also a regular performer in Oratorios such as St. Matthew Passion as Christ, Hayden’s Creation (2nd part), Japhtha, Theodora and Schubert Mass in C.
In 2009 he sang the role of Germano in La scala di seta for the Wagnerian Society of CapeTown and also sang Marcello in La Boheme for Opera Africa in 2010. In 2011 he made his debut as Silvio in I Pagliacci at the New Israeli Opera.
In 2011 he created the role of Mandela in Mandela Trilogy for CTO and got nominated for a Naledi Theatre award for Best Performance in a musical. He performed the role in its UK premier in 2012 at the Welsh Millinium Centre.
Aubrey has performed the role of Jake for CTO in many places such as Berlin(Deutsche oper), The Colloseum in London, Den Norke Oper in Norway, Welsch Millinium Centre in Cardiff.
He recently returned from France where he sang in the Opera Il Mulatto the role of William by Jan Meyerowitz – a production which was produced by Musique Interdites in Marseille and also performed as soloist at the International Mandela day concert with the KZNPO in Paris.
Other roles he has performed are, Dr Falke in Die Fredermaus, De Bretiny in Manon, Baron Douphole in La Traviata, Dancairo in Carmen and he is also a regular performer as a lieder recitalist. his last appearance with Gauteng Opera was as Guglielmo in Cosi fan Tutte.
Khumbuzile is a soprano, she studied BA in music at UKZN.She has appeared as a soloist in a number of UKZN concerts, including the 2006 Lunch Hour Concerts with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra. She also performed in OSCA’s production of Purcell’s Masque in Dioclesian, OSCA’s East and West and the National Arts Council Youth Festival in 2006.
Her roles at school incude Mimi from Puccini’s La Boheme as well as Pamina from Mozart’s Magic flute.
She won the Arts, Culture and Tourism Music Eisteddfod and the South African Post Office Music Eisteddfod.Khumbuzile toured internationally with Opera Africa, performing in Mzilikazi Khumalo’s Princess Magogo singing the role the first hand maiden. She also appeared in a number of concerts under the baton of Richard Cock.
Khumbuzile played the role of Sharon in the Terrence MacNally’s play about Maria Callas, Master class, in which she sang Lady Macbeth’s great Act 1 letter scene from Verdi’s Macbeth. She has also appeared in a number of concerts with KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra such as the Young Performers and Youth Concerts, The young singer also appeared in the Opera Africa’s staging of Puccini’s La Boheme and La Triviata at the State Theatre in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Theatre.
Khumbuzile was involved in the Zululand tour with KZNPO performing various opera arias and some light classical songs. She was one of the soloists in the closing ceremony of the French/ South Africa Season. Khumbuzile also performed at the Kings Concert hosted by the City of eThekwini.Khumbuzile performed as one of the soloists in the French tour with the KZN Philharmonic Orchestra and the Clermont Community Choir singing the soprano role in the work of uShaka ka Senzangakhona by Mzilikazi Khumalo.Khumbuzile appeared as a soprano soloist in the playhouse’s stage version of Hymn of Praise which was directed by Marcus Desando as well as Handel’s Messiah under the direction of Ralph Lawson.
Kagiso Boroko hails from Hammanskraal and already at school, he showed interest in choral music, joining his school choir in 2003. During this year he also joined the group ‘Sweet Voice Masters’ under the leadership of Bhekezizwe Nhlapo.
As a member of the ‘Sweet Voice Masters’ he realized that he loves performing and as a member of this group he performed and participated in the various events, competitions and performances, to name a few: The Unisa Music Foundation Competition, the birthday celebration of Mr Bill Venter, the Altron Awards in 2007 at the Sun City Palace at the Yamaha young talent Rocks Competition and at the Caltivisia Festival.
Kagiso successfully auditioned in 2010 for The Black Tie Ensemble’s Incubator Scheme.
During the next three years he participated as a member of the chorus, part of the Scheme’s training curriculum, in the BTE Opera Vignette production of CW Gluck’s Orfeo ed Euridice in 2010. He was also a member in BTE’s Annual Christmas Concerts for 2010 and 2011. During 2011 he sang the role of the ‘Page’ in BTE’s production of Amahl and the Night Visitors by Gian-Carlo Menotti. Later that year he was part of the Vignette opera production of Gaetano Donizetti’s Lucia de Lammermoor and during September, Cavalleria Rusticana by Pietro Mascagni and sang the role of Pinellino in the BTE production of Gianni Schicchi by Giacomo Puccini.
During 2012 he participated in the following productions for BTE VO1SS: Forté: Power of the Voice; Verdi Opera Gala; A Spring Gala; One Voice: An African Celebration; A Christmas Concert and Carols by Candlelight. Kagiso passed his final assessment and is currently a member of Forté. He receives vocal coaching from Marcus Desando.
Thamsanqa Khaba hails from Durban and started singing at an early age and studied Performers Diploma in Opera at the University of Cape Town under the directorship of Angelo Gobbato.
He studied voice with Juan Burgers, Brad Liebl and Virginia Davids. Highlights from his career include various operas as a student, uShaka ka Senzangakhona with the KZNPO, Haydn’s Creation and Handel’sMessiah. He also worked with Mark Danford-May where he performed Sarastro in Impempe yomlingo (The Magic Flute) in Italy, Austria and Australia. Gauteng Opera’s La Traviata in Concert in June 2015 was the first time working with Gauteng Opera.