THE CRADLE UNDER THE SHADE
a one-act opera by Matthew MacFarlane
Dates: 1, 5, 7, 8 – 12 April 2017
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
In 2016, Gauteng Opera commissioned a 30-minutes one-act opera from composer, Matthew Macfarlane and director Tshepo Ratona with production design by Lungile Cindi.
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 in order 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.
Tshepo Ratona (25) is the Artistic Director and a drama lecture at the NATIONAL THEATRE AND FILM ACADEMY. Tshepo was born and bred in the North West province (Goedgevonden).
Upon completing his studies at MMABANA MMABATHO, He came to Gauteng, where he began his work as a theatre director, some of his work includes MARIKANA -THE MUSICAL, (assistant director), INTERRACIAL (written by Aubrey Sekhabi and Paul Grootboom), MOTHER COURAGE AND HER CHILDREN written by Betolt Brecht, TRONKVOEL (libretto by martin watt), Tshepo also wrote plays like THE MOVEMENT, THE INFIDEL, THE EXPORT and INN TIME, He has also written and directed industrial theatres for different companies and government departments such as DTI (HIV campaign), DCS (change management) and has also appeared in productions like SOME MOTHER’S SONS written BY MAAK VAN GRAAN and THE THRONE written by MARTIN KOBOEKAE, and MASAIKATEGANG A MAGODIMO which was adapted by MPUMELELO PAUL GROOTBOOM and directed by DANNY JASSON.
In Tshepo’s years as a drama lecture he has mentored the success of many young writers, directors and actors whom have now become well-established artists and have done professional works both in theatre and television, to date Tshepo is the Artistic Director at THE NATIONAL THEATRE AND FILM ACADEMY.
Kagiso Boroko hails from Hammanskraal Kagiso Borokoand 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.
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.
Chuma Sijeqa (23) born in Phomolong, Tembisa, is a Vocal Art Btech graduate at the Tshwane University of Technology. He started singing choral music at Phomolong Primary school and continued until his secondary level. After completing Secondary school, he enrolled at the Department of Performing Arts (TUT) in 2013, driven by his love and passion for classical music.
In 2013 he participated in Gauteng Opera’s Verdi Gala and sang in the chorus of the TUT Student production of Faust (C. Gounod). Chuma received a main role as Don Magnifico in the 2014 TUT production of La Cenerentola (G. Rossini), the role of Falstaff for the 2015 production by the same title (G. Verdi) and also the role of Don Alfonso in the 2016 TUT production of Cosi fan Tutte (W.A. Mozart).
He is a versatile artist, constantly broadening his field of experience by trying out new forms within the art. Chuma also took part in a musical production called ELIXIR the Musical written and directed by Given Maziya with Saxola Khetshengane acting as musical director. Chuma Sijeqa is unmistakably committed, passionate and eager to learn more about his art form.
Lindo Maso was born on March 6th 1995 in Cape-Town at a well- known township called Nyanga. His passion for singing started in 2008 upon joining a Sunday school choir and he had never looked back since then. Between the years 2011 and 2012 he participated as one of the Choristers in a local choir at the NCF (National Choir Festival) where he discovered his true Love for opera.
While attending his Matric in Cape Town (2012), Lindo began taking Private Lessons with Prof Sidwill Hartmann. In January 2015 Lindo moved to Johannesburg where he began working with the CEO of Gauteng Opera, Marcus Desando, as his vocal coach. At Gauteng opera Lindo participated as an ad-hoc chorus member in Giuseppe Verdi’s La Traviata and in 3 new South African operas, rendered under the company’s banner Cula Mzansi.
Lindo is a Chorister at The Johannesburg Bach Choir, and is a full time trainee of Gauteng Opera Academy (2016) under the Guidance of Marcus Desando.
Khayakazi Madlala is a young soprano born and bred in the Eastern Cape who is pursuing a career in the arts (music). She started singing when she was in her 7th grade at Mariazell high school under the baton of Mr. S.Gecelo. She participated in the school competition SASCE until she passed her matric.
In 2015 Khayakazi was given a chance to be part of Gauteng Opera in various productions and concerts including La Traviata in concert, Cula Mzansi and Double Bill just to mention a few. She is currently a trainee at the Gauteng Opera Academy.