Excitement is mounting ahead of Operalia, the world’s foremost opera competition, which is to be held in Cape Town later this year.

By Debbie Hathway

Booking is open for Placido Domingo’s Operalia, the world’s foremost opera competition, which is to be held in Cape Town from 30 October to 5 November 2023.

The competition, with total prize money of more than R3-million, was established 30 years ago by living operatic legend Placido Domingo and is presented annually in collaboration with Rolex.

Operalia is designed to boost the careers of young opera stars, with previous South African winners Pretty Yende and Levy Sekgapane (pictured above) reaping the benefits on world stages. This year, five of the 29 contestants are South Africans: Luvo Maranti, Thando Mjandana, Sakhiwe Mkosana, Siphokazi Molteno and Nombulelo Yende – all of whom have studied opera at the University of Cape Town and have been developing careers abroad. Molteno and Yende were finalists in the recent Cardiff Singer of the World Competition.

Luvo Maranti

This year, the event will be hosted by the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Opera and Artscape and is sponsored by the City of Cape Town. “The organisers chose Cape Town for the 30th edition of the competition because the partnership, experience and professionalism of South Africa’s foremost cultural organisations offer the ideal platform for bringing the competition for the first time to African soil,” says Alvaro Domingo, the vice-president of Operalia.

The quarterfinals will be on 30 and 31 October, and the semi-finals on 1 November. The final round will be a gala concert accompanied by the Cape Town Philharmonic, partly conducted by Maestro Domingo, on 5 November. Domingo will also act as non-voting chair of the jury comprised of members of the foremost opera houses in the world, including Cape Town Opera’s artistic director, Magdalene Minnaar. The other conductor will be Kamal Khan, internationally recognised as a leading conductor with voice. The gala concert can be viewed free of charge on Medici.TV, the international electronic platform for all the major classical music festivals and competitions.

Book through Artscape Dial-A-Seat and Computicket.

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