Interview: Sparkling – Champagne and Opera with Magnificent Matshikiza -with South African lyrical soprano Pumeza Matshikiza at The Rand Club in Joburg – Friday November 12, 2021

What: Recital-Champagne and Opera with Magnificent Matshikiza- concert with South African lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, accompanied on piano by Marnus Greyling

When, where time: Friday November 12, 2021 at the Rand Club Ballroom, Marshalltown, Johannesburg at 6.30pm
Tickets: R260 for members of Rand Club and R350 for the general public. Book through Quicket

Direct booking link:
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Multi award winning lyrical soprano, the South African star, Pumeza Matshikiza is thrilled to be doing a recital on Friday November 12, 2021, in the heritage Rand Club Ballroom, on the SITTOPERA ™ platform. The concert is titled, Champagne and Opera with Magnificent Matshikiza and yes, Matshikiza is magnificent. Matshikiza who grew up in townships in Cape Town and studied at The College of Music at UCT (University of Cape Town), has been based in Germany since 2011. She  has sung on prestigious stages in Europe such as Milan’s La Scala and has received rapturous reviews for her singing – range and technique- and for her captivating stage presence.

Covid resulted in the cancellation of most of Matshikiza’s engagements. The Cape Town born artist was back home early 2020, gearing up for a concert at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens in March of that year but the pandemic and lockdown brought the concert series to a halt. With hard lockdown and no flights, she was grounded in South Africa. She was able to get a repatriation flight back to Germany at the beginning of July and two days after she returned she felt ill: “I got sick and a friend took me to hospital, they did some tests and found that I had Covid. I was hospitalised for almost three weeks. It took me almost two months to get back to normal.”

Besides from dealing with lingering effects of Covid, opera, was for the most part on hold in Europe:  “Almost all of my contracts were cancelled apart from Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess which was in Vienna at Theater der Wien, last October [2020].” She performed two roles in Porgy and Bess- Bess and Serena.

Matshikiza was formerly a soloist with the Stuttgart Opera but is now a freelancer, based in Berlin. As things normalize in Europe, with the pandemic under control (and hopefully staying that way), 2022 is looking like it will be a busy opera season. Matshikiza will be singing as Fox in Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen and as Moira in a new production of The Handmaid’s Tale, written by Poul Ruders, at the English National Opera (ENO) in London. Singing at the ENO is very exciting: “I have never sung at ENO before, so it will be my first time singing there -and in two operas one after the other.”

After her recital for SITTOPERA ™, Matshikiza will head back to Europe. At the end of this month [November], in Berlin, she will be performing in a commemoration of 1700 years of Jewish life in Germany. “Ruth Weiss, the writer, will be at the centre and we will be celebrating Miriam Makeba as well.” [Jewish-German history is estimated to dates back 1,700 years and began with a Roman decree in 321 CE. Germany is celebrating of the diversity of Jewish life, in the anniversary year of 2021. Ruth Weiss [Löwenthal] was born Ruth in Fürth, near Nuremberg) in 1924. In 1936, she fled from from the Nazis, to South Africa, with her family. She became involved in anti-apartheid work and a member of the anti-apartheid movement and moved to London and subsequtky settled in Germany, where she now lives. Weiss was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.]

Matshikiza is happy with being a creative nomad –visiting home – whenever she gets the opportunity and performing on the opera circuit, from her base in Berlin: I’m going to stay in Europe. I visit SA frequently, yearly to be precise. I’m only a flight away from home” Regarding the programme for Champagne and Opera with Magnificent Matshikiza, in the grand ballroom at the Rand Club on November 12,she is not giving too much away:The programme will be a mixture of songs and arias. I’d rather keep this a surprise. I promise it to be a beautiful and special night.” 

❇ This interview has been marginally edited for length and clarity. Images supplied. Related coverage on TheCapeRobyn: