Blouberg busker adds a touch of opera for beachgoers

Blouberg beachgoers are in for a treat this December with opera singer Mthetho Maphoyi providing romantic serenades for people relaxing at the popular Cape Town sunset selfie spot.

Every day the Hermanus-born 30-year-old walks along the promenade and the shell-strewn beach paths singing from his repertoire of romance and tragedy, his voice carrying over the waves crashing on the beach and the rocks.

"I have a voice. I have been blessed," says Maphoyi, who has already sung eight pieces for the day.

And in turn, sometimes people passing by in their holiday clothes or relaxing on one of the benches to admire Table Mountain, place a note or a few coins in his beanie. 

This is the money that pays his rent and puts food on his table – a manner of support familiar to many artists.

He loves what he does, and has had some opera training and had been in some stage performances such as Giuseppe Verdi's Rigoletto, and Jules Massenet's Manon.

Ultimately though, he would love to finally get his big break and sing on a stage permanently.

There, the wind won't snatch his notes and swirl them away.

"I want to be on a stage whereby I won't be challenged by the air and the sound quality outdoors.

"I need to be on stage where I can sing normally, where I don't have to strain my voice."

He was recently asked to sing at the nearby Melkbosstrand Dutch Reformed Church at their Christmas Carol night, and according to minister, Kotie Kritzinger, "it was excellent".

"He is very good," said Kritzinger.

This was arranged with the help of organist and music teacher Lizette Pretorius, who also tinkles the ivories for diners at the Blue Peter restaurant in Blouberg. 

The two first met in May at Blue Peter.

Then a woman named Nicolene Smit heard him singing. Smit was quoted on Good Things Guy as saying that she was so moved by his singing that she just had to share and help him get some gigs and support.

Good Things Guy reported that at the time, he was singing Nessun Dorma, an aria from Giacomo Puccini's opera Turandot, which was popularised by the late Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti.

Pretorius said she had had such a busy year of lessons but when she saw the shared clip she sprang into action. 

She and Mthetho reconnected and he was asked to sing at her church's Christmas carol function.

Pretorius said that she and Mthetho were left with very little time to prepare.

They rehearsed at the church, at her studio in Parklands, and exchanged voice notes and WhatsApp messages of sheet music, and he picked it up very quickly. 

"She is amazing," said Mthetho.

"We are starting lessons together sometime in January and she will teach me the theory of music and some new songs," he says.

After speaking to News24, he said he planned to perform four more songs before he takes his curtain call for the day.

Pretorius said she was looking forward to the lessons.

In the meantime, opera lovers still have some time to catch Mthetho along the beautiful shoreline before he moves his talent indoors.

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