Giving life to opera music

2015-05-05 06:00

Mitchell’s Plain opera singer, Danielle Speckman, will be on stage at Artscape Theatre this week in Verdi’s popular La Traviata.

The mezzo soprano, Danielle, is a final year postgraduate opera student at the University of Cape Town and has already appeared on stage in Cosi fan tutte, The Rakes Progress and Il viaggio a Reims. She sang the roles of The Mothers Voice in the 2012 production of The tales of Hoffman, as well as Mother Marie in The dialogues of the Carmelites, but she’s particularly excited for La Traviata as it happens to be one of her favourites.

Live and loveThe popular Verdi opera tells the story of Violetta Valéry, a terminally ill prostitute who is coerced into sacrificing her one hope of personal happiness for the sake of Alfredo, a nobleman’s, public reputation and his sister’s marriage prospects. The piece explores themes like a human being’s right to love and live as they choose, regardless of who they are or where they come from.

“It is exciting to be part of this opera because I’m working with some of the best talented singers and an amazing director and conductor,” she says.

PreparationDanielle will be bringing Annina, Violetta’s maid, to life during the production’s run at Artscape Theatre from Thursday 30 April to Saturday 9 May.

She describes Annina as overprotective and “loyal to the very end”, adding that she is more than just Violetta’s slave. She says the two share a sisterly bond.

To prepare for her role, Danielle says she researched La Traviata before translating the text “word for word” and memorizing it.

She’s had a chance to work on stage since last week and says: “That is when we try to find the character and try to be aware of our bodies and work on how that character would move to portray the role as best we can.”

Danielle is excited for the audience to get a chance to experience La Traviata.

She feels it’s important that younger generations get exposed to opera music. Through their outreach programs, The Cape Town Opera Company have been taking classical music to “the streets of Cape Town” and schools, but Danielle feels the media has an important part to play in helping to promote opera and says there should be more coverage of local opera events.

Exposure“Opera is exciting, and amazing, just many people don’t even know what opera or classical music is,” she says, adding that many people don’t really understand that there’s more to the genre that “singing high”.

Danielle believes that younger generations should be exposed to opera so they can grow up loving the music and pass their knowledge and passion on when they are older.


La Traviata will be staged at Artscape Theatre at 19:30 on Thursday 30 April, Wednesday 6 and Friday 8 May and at 18:00 on Saturday 2 and 9 May. Tickets cost between R125 and R250 and are available at Computicket

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