Africa Angels - A Choir piece from the Cape Town Opera in South Africa
Stockholm, April 2016
The Cape Town Opera
The Cape Town Opera, the world leading vocal ensemble chorus group from South Africa visited Sweden in April 2016 for some of their performances. The group performed in Umeå, Jönköping and in Stockholm.
During the performance at Södra Teatern in Stockholm with their choir piece called the Africa Angels, AI-TV Network interviewed their tour manager who is also the producer for the Cape Town Opera, Roy Hunter. During the interview, Roy gave us a brief historical background of the group, their recent performances and some of their developmental programs.
Historical background of the Cape Town Opera
The Cape Town Opera is still a fairly young company and they are celebrating their 15th year this 2016. The group started as a company that concentrated on two main important aspects:
The first one being to encourage participation in music and especially opera for people who were for very long time denied access to opera in South Africa.
The second aspect was to focus and to try to build musicians and audience for the future. As the main activity for the group, Cape Town Opera’s concentrated on doing concerts in different parts of South Africa and they also do international tours. In just 2016, the company estimates about four hundred people to travel around the world for different performances.
The Cape Town Opera also has a good and long historical relationship with Sweden as the group had a composer who was from Sweden and the group had performed before with Norrlands opera. This year makes for the group exactly eight years since their last performance in Sweden.
During the visit in Sweden the Cape Town opera was accompanied by twenty eight singers. Ten of them went back and they were left with eighteen singers who remained in Sweden to perform the choir piece from the Opera group called Africa Angels.
The choir piece started in 2013 when the Cape Town Opera emerged as the best choir group in the world at a competition in London. This was an opportunity for the company to showcase their talents as part of their operatic courses. Included in these courses were partly American gospel and a blend of the typical traditional South African music.
The eighteen members from the African Angel group, are young, have remarkable voices and they are all drawn from all the corners of South Africa.
The group had done over ninety international performances at different venues and this was the first time they toured and performed in Sweden. During this time the choir group visited Jönköping, Fara and they were also excited to do their performance in Stockholm.
Performance in Stockholm
The group’s performance at Södra teatern in Stockholm was breathtaking. With their melding and unique vocals, combined with the rhythms they made during the performance had a profound effect on the audience. The feeling they created from the gestures and body
movements they made during the performance connected their music with the audience so much so that at some point, the room became so quiet following the chorus of some songs they sang during the show.
The show was entertaining and the venue was fully booked with hundreds of people ancious to experience the angelic voices of the Africa Angels.
The group performance in Sweden was in conjunction with the promoters from Riksteatern and the Opera group is hoping to do more work in the future with Sweden.
In terms of the group's developmental programs, the Cape Town Opera's goals are concentrated on;
Taking music and especially Opera to communities around South Africa. The reasons for this are that there are hundreds of
people from these communities who don’t, and unfortunately, don not have the opportunity to visit the big cities to watch opera concert.
To do national tours, travel with at least eight to ten people (including singers), visit schools, organize workshops for teachers, encourage talents, give people idea and opportunities on what is possible for them to do.
The company actually has some success stories from people in the rural areas who were inspired by the Cape Town Opera and they are now doing well and some of them are performing at the international venues as Roy told us.
The group brings people from outside Cape Town into the big cities to see the Opera, they even get to visit and see back stage. Roy believes that it is vital to create more interest around opera and he concluded that ‘unless we do this, Opera will die’.