Catch award-winning opera singer Runette Botha

2013-06-25 00:00

OPERA singer Runette Botha, this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, will be performing with the KwaZulu-Natal Philharmonic Orchestra in the National Arts Festival Gala Concert in the Guy Butler Theatre at Monument in Grahamstown at 3 pm on Sunday.

Hailing from Brakpan on the East Rand, Botha, who now lives in Germany, made her professional début at the Royal Albert Hall, performing alongside José Carreras and Kiri te Kanawa.

She has also performed the Erwin Stein arrangement of Mahler’s Fourth Symphony at King’s Place with Trevor Pinnock, and Mahler’s Second Symphony at Cadogen Hall, and has been a member of the Staatstheater Kassel Opera Studio since 2011.

Speaking about being named this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, she said: “I believe the exposure is invaluable. I hope that through this award I will get the opportunity to do more work at home, and then, in effect, invest my talent in South Africa again.

“I hope to be part of the process to create platforms for singers and other musicians in South Africa, to inspire more people to listen to classical music and opera, and not to dismiss it immediately as ‘boring’ or ‘elitist’, without really giving it a chance.

“There is so much potential in our beautiful country; we just need to support our artists and give them the opportunities that they deserve.”

At the Gala Concert, Botha will perform Charles Gounod’s Ah! Je Veux Vivre from Romeo et Juliette, Giacomo Puccini’s Quandoménvo from La Boheme and Robert Stoltz’s An so einem Tag wieheute.

The concert, which will be conducted by Richard Cock, also features pianist Ben Schoeman, who will perform George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue.

Other items on the programme are the Grand March from Aida, Wagner’s Rider of the Valkyries and Elgar’s Pomp & Circumstance March No 1. Tickets range from R50 to R85 at Computicket.

The KZNPO will also be staging a Symphony Concert, conducted by Theodore Kuchar and featuring soloist Joanna Frankel, in the Guy Butler Theatre at 7 pm on Saturday.

The programme includes Wagner’s Rienzi Overture, Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition and Sibelius’s Violin Concerto in D Minor, Op 47 (featuring Frankel). Tickets range from R55 to R90 at Computicket.

Cock conducts the Durban-based orchestra, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, for the Frank Sinatra and Friends concerts at the Guy Butler Theatre at 2 pm and 7.30 pm on July 1.

In the concert, Nic Nicolaidis and Zwai Bala, accompanied by the KZNPO, will sing songs ranging from Fly Me To The Moon to I’ve Got You Under My Skin, Fascinating Rhythm, Unforgettable and My Way. Tickets are R60 (R50 students) at Computicket.

A percentage of proceeds from the concert will be donated to the Theatre Benevolent Fund, which helps provide care and comfort to performers who find themselves incapacitated and destitute due to illness.

Members of the KZNPO will also be delivering a number of recitals around Grahamstown during the festival.

At 7 pm on Friday and 9.30 pm on Sunday, the Rhodes Chapel plays host to A Brahms Serenade, which features wind and string instruments, and will transport the audience back to 19th-century Germany. Tickets are R60 (R50 students) at Computicket.

The KZNPO’s Sabine Baird (flute), David Snaith (viola) and Linor Steinhausen (harp) will perform A Trio Programme in the Beethoven Room at 4 pm on Friday and 10 am on Saturday.

The programme includes Theodore Dubois’ Terzettino, Claude Debussy’s Sonate en trio, for flute, viola and harp, L 137 and Alan Stephenson’s Trio for Flute, Viola and Harp. Tickets are R60 (R50 students) at Computicket.

The orchestra’s cellists — Boris Kerimov, Ralitsa Todorova, Marguerite Spies, Fiona Grayer — and guest soloist, Stephane Pechoux (percussion), will perform Celli-Bration in the Beethoven Room at 2 pm on Saturday and 6 pm on Sunday.

The programme includes works by Bach and Francini, alongside Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters Pray, and the Irish traditional, Toss the Feathers. Tickets are R60 (R50 students) at Computicket.

Last, but not least, members of the KZNPO will present a Wind Octet/Nonette Programme at the Rhodes Chapel at noon on Saturday and in the Beethoven Room at 10 am on July 1.

The programme includes Mozart’s Serenade No 11 in E Flat Major, K375 and Gounod’s Petite Symphony for 9 Winds. Tickets are R60 (R50 students) at Computicket.

• arts@witness.co.za

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