Cape Town Opera’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi 

When: February 14 to 17, 2024
Where: Artscape Opera House
Tickets: R190- R550 through Webtickets and Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 0214217695
Director: Magdalene Minnaar
Set and costume design: Allegra Bernacchioni
Lighting design: Faheem Bardien
Orchestra: The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Jeremy Silver  

Cape Town Opera much anticipated Puccini double bill is on Artscape Opera House from February 14 to 17, 2024: Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. Direction is by CTO’s artistic director, Magdalene Minnaar. Lighting design by Faheem Bardien and set and costumes by Allegra Bernacchioni. The double bill celebrates the legacy of Puccini – who died 100 years ago and is proudly part of Cape Town Opera’s 25th anniversary year season [2024].

At the concept presentation [January 25, 2023], Minnaar provided insights into the conceptualisation of the double bill. She is thrilled to be working with Allegra Bernacchioni- an Italian living in Cape Town. Bernacchioni’s illustrious CV includes working at the Teatro alla Scala in Milan, La Maestranza and a decade working with the stage and film director, Franco Zeffirelli. Her minimal set is multi-levelled and spatially layered. To keep costs down, Minnaar and Bernacchioni sifted through Artscape’s wardrobe. They scoured a warehouse with wardrobe retrieved from The State Theatre and found 28 beautiful wool costumes. A costume is being used from a production of Aida in the 1970s.  Love this idea of up-cycling and building from previous productions. Other costumes were custom made. Audiences will be delighted that Cape Town Opera’s Children Chorus is singing in the double bill – 28 children. This is the 2nd production to feature the Children’s Chorus. CTO recently formalised the Children’s Chorus as a part of the opera company. Read on for more. Info as supplied:


Hot on the heels of their sold-out Cape Town run of The Sound of Music presented in collaboration with Pieter Toerien Productions, Cape Town Opera opens its exciting 25th anniversary year with Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi at the Artscape Opera House from February 14 to 17, 2024. The highly anticipated double bill directed by Magdalene Minnaar pays homage to the composer’s timeless genius and celebrates the centenary of his death. The Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra will be conducted by Jeremy Silver and aside from the exquisite score, audiences can look forward to hearing glorious, well known arias such as O mio bambino caro and Senza Mamma.

Suor Angelica

Suor Angelica, the more serious of the two one-act operas, stars Cape Town Opera House Soloist Nobulumko Mngxekeza in the title role with an all-women cast that includes Minette du Toit-Pearce as The Princess Aunt, Siphamandla Moyake as Sister Genevieve and CTO’’s Judith Neilson Young Artists Asisipho Petu as The Mother Abbess and Julia Portela Piñón as The Monitor. The Cape Town Opera Chorus will be directed by Marvin Kernelle and the Cape Town Opera Children’s Chorus, officially launched in December last year, will be directed by Antoinette Huyssen.  

Suor Angelica revolves around Sister Angelica, a Florentine noblewoman compelled to join a nunnery after having a child out of wedlock. The story unfolds in the abbey where Angelica receives a visit from her elderly aunt, a princess, who shares distressing news about Angelica’s son with dramatic and devastating consequences. 

Gianni Schicchi 

On a lighter note to perfectly complement the gravitas of Suor Angelica, Gianni Schicchi is a delightful comedy set in Florence, Italy, with Cape Town Opera House Soloist Conroy Scott in the title role. The cast includes CTO’s Judith Neilson Young Artists Dineo Bokala as Lauretta, Julia Portela Piñón as Zita and Lonwabo Mose as Simone. 

The story unfolds around the bed of the rich patriarch Buoso Donati who has passed away after a long illness. Relatives gather, feigning grief as they wait to learn who has inherited Donati’s wealth. When they discover that none of them has any claim to the fortune, they seek out the conniving Schicchi to make a counterfeit will and all manner of hilarious shenanigans ensue.

Creative team

Cape Town Opera has once again secured a superb creative team with lighting design by Faheem Bardien, movement direction by Fiona du Plooy and set and costume design by Allegra Bernacchioni from Italy whose theatre credits include top houses around the world including Teatro alla Scala in Milan, La Maestranza in Seville, the New National Theatre in Tokyo, the Euskalduna Theatre in Bilbao and Comédie de Genève in Geneva. She also spent a decade working closely with the brilliant stage and film director, Franco Zeffirelli.

Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi  have been made possible through generous support from Mr & Mrs Stanislas Yassukovich and The City of Cape Town.

Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi  runs at the Artscape Opera House from February 14 to 17, 2024, with performances at 18h00 and 19h00 and tickets from R190 to R550 through Webtickets and Artscape Dial-A-Seat on 0214217695. Special discounts are available for pensioners and block bookings of ten or more.

Puccini double bill: Allegra Bernacchioni’s design for Suor Angelica, The Principessa Aunt (Minette du Toit-Pearce). Suor Angelica is part of the Puccini double bill at Artscape, presented by Cape Town Opera, February 14 to 17, 2024. The other piece is Gianni Schicchi.
Opera design: Allegra Bernacchioni, Italian born designer who lives in Cape Town. She is designer of the set and costumes for Cape Town Opera’s Puccini double bill: Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi, at Artscape Opera House, February 14 to 17, 2024. Pic: Supplied.

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✳Featured image: Allegra Bernacchioni’s design for the characters Schicchi (Conroy Scott) and Zita (Julia Portela Piñón) in Cape Town Opera’s staging of Gianni Schicchi.  It is part of the Puccini double bill at Artscape, presented by Cape Town Opera, February 14 to 17, 2024. The other piece is Suor Angelica. Sponsored content.