Opera recital: South African  soprano Monica Mhangwana, in recital at SITTOPERA™- December 2021 – and what is in the future with the wonderful opera platform at the Rand Club in Johannesburg

What: Recital- with South African  soprano Monica Mhangwana

When, where time: Friday December 3, 2021 at the Rand Club Ballroom, Marshalltown, Johannesburg at 6.30pm
Tickets: R180 for members of Rand Club and R250 for the general public- includes welcome drinks of bubbly, sponsored by Villiera Wines

Booking: accounts@sittopera.co.za. Payment into FNB account, holder: HFH Sitta, 62558877901 (branch code 250655)

Dinner: Set meal is available in the restaurant and bar of the club. To book, e-mail restaurant@randclub.co.za   

For upcoming SITTOPERA™ events: harald@sittopera.co.za  

Facebook:  www.sittopera.com or see www.sittopera.co.za  
Info: Harald Sitta by e-mail harald@sittopera.co.za      

Johannesburg’s wonderful opera platform, SITTOPERA™, is presenting its last recital for 2021, in the opulent Rand Club Ballroom on Friday December 3, with soprano Monica Mhangwana. SITTOPERA™ is headed up by Viennese born Harald Sitta who has continued through Covid. With all the restrictions of lockdown, seven events were presented during 2021, lockdown at The Rand Club. Sitta is a huge supporter of emerging talent and providing a platform for young opera stars. Monica Mhangwana has performed at several SITTOPERA™ events and you can read more about that, in interview below and how she was spotted by Harald – on Facebook In February 2022, Monica will sing Dorabella in Harald’s production of Mozart’s Così fan tutte. For 2022, SITTOPERA™ audiences can look forward to, a return of lyric soprano, Pumeza Matshikiza as Leonore in Fidelio, “the quest for unmasked freedom” and she will sing Tosca for SITTOPERA ™ in 2024. Not only has Harald Sitta brought opera to audiences during Covid, but he has also provided employment for young artists during these challenging days and is a true patron of the arts. Stay tune to find out more about the SITTOPERA™ 2022 opera diary.

How Monica Mhangwana was spotted on Facebook by Harald Sitta of SITTOPERA™

Monica Mhangwana was studying Music (BMus) at University of Pretoria. She grew up in Pretoria. She was unable to finish her degree, due to “financial constraints”.  In 2018, she marketed her 4th year performance recital on Facebook. Harald Sitta read about it and attended her recital. Monica Mhangwana: “Harald Sitta took my contact details that is how we met. He then invited me to sing in 2019 at Roche Bobois in Sandton with Cape Town based Opera singers Brittany Smith (soprano), Tylor Lamani (tenor) and Swaziland based singer Thando Zwane (baritone), accompanied by the wonderful Dr Laetitia Orlandi. This recital on Friday December 3 is my first solo recital with Harald, Sittopera at The Rand Club. I have performed with other opera singers at the Rand Club as well as attended other Opera singer’s solo recitals but never had my own solo recital at the Rand Club.”

The programme for the December 3, 2021 recital with Monica Mhangwana and the dress!

My programme will be varied and will include Handel, Mozart, Bizet and Obradors. “I chose music that would be interesting to an audience who doesn’t often listen to classical music and most importantly music that I love.” Monica will be wearing a fabulous festive ball gown for the recital. “I have been dressed by Marlize Coetzee Boshoff Immagika Creative Designs dresses in the past. I love her dresses. They always make you feel like a queen. I am excited I will be wearing a red dress in honour of our festive season.“

Lockdown interruptus but the show goes on

Many of Monica’s engagements were cancelled because of Rona in 2020, but she fared better in 2021. “Lockdown was horrible in 2020 I lost all of my performing gigs. This year [2021], I have been blessed as performances have really picked up for me performing with Johannesburg opera – which I joined this year- as well as with Renowned Maestro Richard Cock. I will be having a Christmas concert with Johannesburg Opera on Sunday December 5, at 3pm, at the Tin Town Theatre. I have already had two gigs cancelled for this weekend due to the rising numbers of Covid cases. The Last gigs for the year will be on the December 21, 23 and 26 with Sempre Opera at the Festival of Lights Johannesburg Zoo.”

2022 opera diary for Monica- performing and teaching

Due to the uncertainty of Covid, the new variant and travel issues, Monica doesn’t yet have any overseas engagements as “things are hanging at the moment.”  She adds: “Next year, I have a few projects with Sittopera, Sempre Opera as well as Richard Cock. I hope all goes well for 2022. Covid is entering its 4th wave now with more and more people getting infected again so I have to wait and see what happens. I can only hope that we will get through this and that the lives of all artists can continue. We took a serious hit last year and are not quite at the optimum performance opportunities.  We are still lacking enough funding to put our own concerts and shows up. I am teaching singing at a Music school in Pretoria, as well as at my own private studio I teach a range of different ages from nine years to over 50 years of age, as well as in different genres I focus on what the students personal singing goals are and cover healthy singing technique, vocal warm ups ad exercises as well and how to plan and prepare for concerts, competitions and life as a musician.”

Opulent opera: Soprano Monica Mhangwana – recital on Friday December 3, 2021 at the Rand Club Ballroom, Marshalltown, Johannesburg on Harald Sitta’s SITTOPERA™ platform. She will be singing for SITTOPERA™ in 2022. Supplied.

About Monica Mhangwana- supplied info  by Monica

Monica Mhangwana is a singer (opera, contemporary, African), vocal coach and entrepreneur. She was born and raised in Pretoria, South Africa. She started singing in choir when she was eight years old, and during her teen years, she continued to sing in various vocal ensembles including The University of Pretoria Youth Choir. She studied music at the University of Pretoria under the tutelage of Dr Hanli Stapela.  

Monica has participated in masterclasses with Kobie van Rensburg and Professor Albie van Schalkwyk. She has sung at the Wakkerstroom music festival and the University of Pretoria Music festival. She holds the record of being selected to perform as the soloist for the prestigious University of Pretoria’s annual Principals concert four years in a row (2015-2018), singing in many genres ranging from Jazz African styles, contemporary, and Western Classical styles. Monica has sung on stages with local artists, Ian von Memerty, Zonke, Lloyd Cele and the famous Swedish a capella ensemble, The Real Group. She toured nationally and internationally to Cape Town, Belgium, Amsterdam, Namibia, Austria, Latvia, France and Seychelles as part of various music ensembles. She was the alto soloist in Umculo’s St John’s Passion by JS Bach in Soweto, this project won the German based Classical: NEXT innovation award. She was the lead vocalist in Dr Phuti Sepuru’s Quintet which represented South Africa in the Seychelles in November 2018, singing Afro Jazz tunes and participating in a cultural music exchange workshop.  

In 2019 she was a soloist for the Roche Bobois French Opera event in Sandton, Johannesburg, hosted by Dr Harald Sitta. This event was reported and published in the Vienna online magazine Der Neue Merker and Habitat Magazine. Her face is on the cover of the African Theatre 19: Opera & Music Theatre publication (2019).

Monica is a co-founder and director of Glacier Stone, a creative music, arts and media company. In 2020, she won The Smith Award Prize for Mezzo-sopranos in the Voices of South Africa International Opera Singing Competition and was a semi-finalist in the Grand Finale. She performs at Sittopera events held at The Rand Club- events which provide a platform for South African opera singers. In 2021 she joined Johannesburg Opera, and has been singing in concerts organized by the opera company. In 2021 Monica performed in concerts organised by the renowned Richard Cock for various audiences including blue chip corporate clients, and she also performed for international organisations.

Monica works as a vocal coach at a music school in Pretoria and at her own private studio. She intends to continue on her path of musicianship, as a versatile professional in music.      

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