Voices of South Africa International Opera Masterclasses &
Njabulo Madlala is a South African opera singer born in Inanda, a township North of Durban. In 2002, Njabulo won a major scholarship to study music at the Guildhall School of Music, supported by The Peter Moores Foundation, Oppenheimer Memorial Trust and the Guildhall School Scholarship.
Njabulo founded his "Voices of South Africa" opera project in 2013. Through a series of auditions held across South Africa as well as online, highly talented singers are discovered and supported in their development during the early stages of their journey. Almost all singers who take part come from very disadvantaged communities of South Africa, where there is no opportunity for exposure to training and the development of their art.
Rigorous workshops, masterclasses and an annual National Opera Singing Competition form the basis of Njabulo’s vision, underpinned by one on one coaching, mentoring, skill development, information exchange, and most importantly, connecting young artists with the business of the performing arts, as well as places for further education.
Since 2013, Njabulo has invited leading colleagues in the field to travel to South Africa to lead this work. Every year this work has helped the best of singers who take part to come to the UK for auditions for further studies and professional engagements.
Who has been involved?
To name just a few:
David Gowland - Artistic Director of the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Young Artists Programme
Elaine Kidd - Head of the Royal Opera House's Jette Parker Young Artists Programme
Michelle Williams - Head of Casting at English National Opera
Dominic Wheeler - Head of Opera studies Guildhall School of Music and Drama
David Cowan - Head of Music at Opera North
Marcus Desando - New Prince Claus Fund Director
Gcina Mhlophe - Poet, Storteller, Motivational Speaker and director of Gcinamasiko Heritage Trust
Simon Shibambu was the first singer to travel to London in 2013. He auditioned at the Royal College where he was offered a full scholarship to study for three years. He was then offered a two year contract by the Royal Opera House and now sings all over the world. You can watch him here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mBg6trRwMmo
The most recent recipient of note is soprano Cecila Rangwanasha. Cecilia was heard by the team from the Royal Opera House, who were invited by Njabulo to South Africa 2019. She was immediately offered a two year contract at the Royal Opera House’s Young Artist programme, which she completed in July 2021. Cecilia was a finalist of the Cardiff Singer of the World 2021 and as a consequence, was offered a contract by an opera company in Germany where she now resides. Here she is: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQTO5LBKFB8
Current Supported Young Artists:
Nkululeko Masuku - Tenor (Currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama)
Kamohelo Tsotetsi - Baritone (Winner of 2021 Voices of SA Currently studying at the National Opera Studio London)
Segomotso Shupinyaneng - Soprano (Currently studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama
Chuma Sijeqa - Baritone (Currently at the Royal Opera House on the Young Artists Programme)
Thando Mjandana - Tenor (Currently at the Royal Opera House on the Young Artists Programme)
Yolisa Ngwexane - Soprano (Currently understudying the role of Gilda for Opera North UK followed by studies at the Guildhall School starting in September 2022)
Luvo Maranti - Tenor (Starting studies at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama September 2022)
Msimelelo Mbali - Bass (Currently at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York on the Young Artists Programme)
Voices of South Africa 2022 - How Can You Help?
Your support will make a critical difference to the lives of many young, aspiring and still underprivileged South African opera singers. You can help inspire the next generation of South African opera stars.
The 2022 project is expected to cost ZAR500,000 (£25 000) which principally represents the cost of supporting young artists with travel, accommodation, food, piano and venue hire.
Most of the professional artists who lead the workshops and masterclasses donate their services and Voices of South Africa covers covers their travel, accommodation and food during the two weeks in South Africa .
For accounting and transparency, all supporters will be sent an update at the end of the project with a clear breakdown of how funds raised were used.
For donations towards Voices of South Africa Opera Masterclasses and Singing Competition 2022 please click the donation button bellow: