SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas – presented by Cape Town Opera

When: April 11-21, 2024
Where: Artscape Arena, Cape Town  

Double bill: La voix humaine and The Impresario – on April 12 and 19 at 18h00 and 19h30 respectively
Triple bill: Featuring all three operas – Trial By Media, La Voix Humaine and The Impresario – on April 13, 20, 21 April at 15h00, 16h30 and 18h00 respectively

Tickets: R150-R280
Bookings: Webtickets or see https://www.artscape.co.za/events/category/opera/    

PARENT GUIDANCE: Please note that for La voix humaine parent guidance is advised. No under 10s are allowed into Trial By Media

Thrilling news is Cape Town Opera’s launch of a new festival: ‘SHORTS-A Festival of Pocket Operas’ in the Artscape Arena, These concise operas range from 45 minutes to an hour. See all three as a triple bill on selected nights and see a double bill on selected nights or go and watch one per night. The festival will feature the world premiere of Conrad Asman’s hugely anticipated Trial by Media. This new South African opera “delves into the complexities surrounding media perceptions of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.” The other two operas are: Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine (The Human Voice) and Mozart’s comedic opera, The Impresario (Der Schauspieldirektor), sung in English. Read on for more. Info as supplied.

Opera news: Cape Town Opera presents ‘SHORTS-A Festival of Pocket Operas’ in the Artscape Arena, April 11-21, 2024

This autumn, Cape Town Opera will present SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas, a captivating series of concise operas, at the Artscape Theatre from April 11- 21, 2024. This diverse and dynamic festival promises to be a celebration of operatic innovation and storytelling, and features an impressive lineup, including the World Premiere of Conrad Asman’s Trial by Media, a compelling new South African opera; Francis Poulenc’s La voix humaine (The Human Voice), and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s comedic opera The Impresario (Der Schauspieldirektor), sung in English. Production and lighting design are by Allegra Bernacchioni and Kobus Rossouw, respectively.

Trial by Media by composer Conrad Asman delves into the complexities surrounding media perceptions of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial. The opera stars Cape Town Opera House Soloist soprano Brittany Smith, fresh from her acclaimed role as Maria in The Sound of Music for which she won a Fleur du Cap theatre Award for the role and Conroy Scott, playing the Defence. Van Wyk Venter, a member of the CTO Judith Neilson Young Artist programme, portrays Oscar Pistorius with Tylor Lamani as the Prosecutor and Lusibalwethu Sesanti as the Judge. It will be directed by Fred Abrahamse and Marcel Meyer (Meyer also oversees costume design). This visceral opera explores the profound effects of media coverage on public perception- the way people judge and assume according to what is posted on social media, particularly when events involve high profile individuals with very public personas both in real life and online. José Dias is the musical director.

Directed by Magdalene Minnaar, La voix humaine (The Human Voice) features Janelle Visagie as The Woman, a role that earned her the Fleur du Cap Theatre Award for Best Female Opera Singer in 2018. Based on Jean Cocteau’s 1950s play, this one-woman masterpiece by Poulenc portrays the harrowing effects of dementia, capturing the protagonist’s battle with the condition through fragmented memories and confusion. This emotionally resonant work was initially produced for the IMPAC Film Festival, with video elements curated by Pluto Panoussis.

Der Schauspieldirektor (The Impresario), Mozart’s engaging comic opera, is presented in English and brings a light-hearted, comic touch to the festival. Composed for a musical competition at Emperor Joseph II’s request in 1786, the opera showcases Mozart’s comedic genius. Musical direction is by pianist and vocal coach Robin Phillips for whom this production marks his first in his home country South Africa in 24 years. The cast, directed by Elisabeth Manduell, includes guest soloist Alida Scheepers alongside Judith Neilson Young Artists Dineo Bokala, Mongezi Mosoaka and Lonwabo Mose, with actor Dean de Klerk who was recently seen in The Sound of Music, in a speaking role.

Cape Town Opera extends its deepest gratitude to the Judith Neilson Foundation for its extraordinary philanthropic support of its 25th anniversary season.

The programme at a glance

SHORTS-A Festival of Pocket Operas is at the Artscape Arena from April 11 to 21, 2024.

Trial by Media is on April 11 and 18 at 6pm.

There is a double bill: La voix humaine and The Impresario -on April 12 and 19 at 18h00 and 19h30 respectively.

There is a triple bill featuring all three operas – Trial By Media, La Voix Humaine and The Impresario –  on April 13, 20, 21 at 15h00, 16h30 and 18h00 respectively.

Tickets cost from R150 to R280 per person. For performance details and to book please visit Webtickets. 

PARENT GUIDANCE: Please note that for La voix humaine parent guidance is advised while no under 10s are allowed into Trial By Media.    

World premiere: Conrad Asman, composer of Trial by Media, has its world premiere in Cape Town, April 2024, as part of SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas, presented by Cape Town Opera. The opera “delves into the complexities surrounding media perceptions of the Oscar Pistorius murder trial.” Pic: Flavia Cantena. Supplied.

❇ Featured image: Costume designs by Allegra Bernacchioni for Mozart’s The Impresario, Cape Town, April 2024, as part of SHORTS: A Festival of Pocket Operas, presented by Cape Town Opera. Sponsored content.