Cape Town Opera’s SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas

Van Wyk Venter, Janelle Visagie and Tylor Lamani star in SHORTS: Pocket Operas with Cape Town Opera

This autumn, Cape Town Opera is presenting ‘SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas,’ a series of diverse and fascinating concise opera productions. Set to take place at Artscape Theatre from 11 to 21 April, the series of works celebrates operatic innovation and storytelling with an exciting lineup.

Concertgoers can witness the world premiere of Conrad Asman’s ‘Trial by Media’, a compelling new South African opera; Francis Poulenc’s ‘La voix humaine’ (The Human Voice); and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comedic opera ‘The Impresario (Der Schauspieldirektor), presented in English. Production and lighting design is by Allegra Bernacchioni and Kobus Rossouw, respectively. Here’s what you can look forward to for SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas.

Conrad Asman SHORTS Cape Town Opera
Composer Conrad Asman premiers his opera ‘Trial by Media’ with Cape Town Opera at SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas

‘Trial By Media’, a new South African opera, premieres

Conrad Asman’s ‘Trial by Media’ delves into the media perceptions around the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The opera stars Cape Town Opera house soloist soprano Brittany Smith, fresh from her acclaimed role as Maria in ‘The Sound of Music’, and award-winning bass-baritone Conroy Scott as the Defence.

Van Wyk Venter, a member of the CTO Judith Neilson Young Artist programme, portrays Oscar Pistorius, while Tylor Lamani is the Prosecutor and Lusibalwethu Sesanti plays the Judge. Directed by Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer, who also oversee costume design, this opera explores the profound effects of media coverage on public perceptions of the individuals involved in high-profile legal cases. José Dias is the musical director.

Van Wyk Venter, Janelle Visagie and Tylor Lamani star in SHORTS: Pocket Operas with Cape Town Opera
Van Wyk Venter, Janelle Visagie and Tylor Lamani star, among others

Fragmented Memories in Poulenc’s ‘La Voix Humaine’

‘La Voix Humaine’ (The Human Voice) is a Poulenc one-woman masterpiece, directed by Magdalene Minnaar. It features Janelle Visagie as The Woman, a role that earned her the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Female Opera Singer in 2018. Based on Jean Cocteau’s 1950s play, Poulenc portrays the harrowing effects of dementia, capturing the protagonist’s battle with the condition through fragmented memories and confusion. This poignant work was initially produced for the IMPAC Film Festival, with video elements curated by Pluto Panoussis.

Sketch for SHORTS Cape Town Opera
Sketch by costume designer Allegra Bernacchioni for CTO’s performance of ‘The Impresario’, Mozart’s engaging comic opera

Mozart’s Comedic Opera About Opera

Mozart’s engaging comic opera ‘The Impresario’ is presented in English, and brings a lighthearted touch to the festival. Composed for a musical competition at Emperor Joseph II’s request in 1786, the opera showcases Mozart’s usual notorious comedic genius.
The story centres around an opera company director and plays on themes of ego and rivalry. Under the musical direction of Robin Phillips, the cast, directed by Elisabeth Manduell, includes guest soprano Alida Scheepers and Judith Neilson Young Artists Dineo Bokala, Mongezi Mosoaka, and Lonwabo Mose, with actor Dean de Klerk in a speaking role.

Cost: R150pp to R280pp. Book through Webtickets

When: Running from 11 to 21 April
Where: Artscape Theatre, D.F. Malan St, Foreshore

Tel: 021 001 9880
Instagram: @capetownopera
Facebook: @capetownopera
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