Cape Town Comes To Buenos Aires

21/12/2016

The Gershwins, Porgy and Bess: Soloists, Cape Town Opera Chorus and Orchestra / Tim Murray (conductor), Teatro Colón, Buenos Aires. 13.12.2016. (JSJ)

Cape Town Opera’s 'Porgy and Bess' at Teatro Colón. (Photo Máximo Parpagnoli)

Cape Town Opera’s Porgy and Bess at Teatro Colón (c) Máximo Parpagnoli

Cast:
Porgy – Xolela Sixaba
Bess – Philisa Sibeko
Crown – Mandisinde Mbuyazwe
Clara – Siphamandla Yakupa
Serena – Goitsemang Lehobye
Sportin’ Life – Lukhanyo Moyake
Maria – Miranda Tini
Robbins – Mthunzi Mbombela
Undertaker – Mandla Mndebele
Jake – Owen Metsileng
Jim – Lindile Kula Jr
Mingo – Lusindiso Dubula
Peter – Andile Tshoni
Lilly – Bukelwa Velem
Strawberry Woman – Noluvuyiso Mpofu / Ernestine Stuurman

Production:
Direction – Christine Crouse
Sets/costumes – Michael Mitchell
Lighting – Kobus Rossouw
Chorus – Marvin Kernelle
Choreography – Sibonakaliso Ndaba

Cape Town Opera’s production of Porgy and Bess has been on the international scene since 2009, where it has attracted a good deal of accolades. The background to it is by now probably well known with the transposition of the work to a South African township in the apartheid era – must be a Cape one, given the association to fishing. Not that one would necessarily recognise it as such from the scenery, which is sufficiently conventional that it could be many a place, but other subtle references abound, such as to popular local products of the day, which will be recognisable to those who know South Africa.

With this also comes its other principal feature of an all South African cast comprised of the growing ‘new’ generation of local singers. Exactly as the work is meant to be. It is also important given the remarkable spontaneity and sense of rhythm of Africans, with the significant role of the chorus – here Cape Town Opera’s chorus – who can dance as well as they sing.

Obviously the cast has changed over the years of the production and here the star was undoubtedly Xolela Sixaba as Porgy. A warm strong baritone, his depiction of the cripple was also remarkable, moving about on his knees – either on a small trolley or directly – as if it was entirely natural.

Philisa Sibeko gave a good performance of Bess, but she like the other members of the cast, excepting Sixaba, were at times overpowered by the orchestra. Lukhanyo Moyake was a suitably oily Sportin’ Life while the other bringer of strife to the otherwise closely knit Catfish Row community, Crown, was well played by Mandisinde Mbuyazwe. Notable too Siphamandla Yakupa’s Clara and Owen Metsileng’s Jake, and Miranda Tini was a suitably feisty Maria.

Besides the volume problem Tim Murray elicited good playing from the Colón orchestra and all in all the work made a good and different end to the local opera season.

Jonathan Spencer Jones

Print Friendly

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Opera and More in Buenos Aires in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Gloucester Choral Society’s Hubert Parry’s Centenary Celebrations in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! Ex Cathedra at St John’s Smith Square’s 2017 Christmas Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Spend a Penny for Grange Park Opera’s Lavatorium Rotundum __________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The 2018 Lucerne Summer Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! World Premiere of The Nutcracker and I, by Alexandra Dariescu in December at Milton Court __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder’s Forthcoming Schubert Song Series in Leeds and Sheffield __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Ballet’s 2017 – 2018 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Contemporary Music from Manchester’s Psappha in 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! I Musicanti’s ‘Alexandra and the Russians’ at St Johns Smith Square, 2017-18 __________________________________
  • NEW! Anna Netrebko and Yusif Eyvazov’s Return to London in May 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! St John’s Smith Square announces its 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Pierre Boulez Saal’s 2017/18 Season in Berlin __________________________________
  • UPDATED! The Glyndebourne Opera Cup and Glyndebourne in 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! English National Opera’s 2017/18 Season __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Dénes Várjon Talks to Sebastian Smallshaw About Budapest’s Kamara.hu __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM – DMITRI HVOROSTOVSKY (1962-2017) __________________________________
  • NEW! Ann Murray’s Masterclass at the V&A Part of Opera: Passion, Power and Politics __________________________________
  • NEW! Carly Paoli is ‘Singing My Dreams’ at the Cadogan Hall in February 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! A Composer Speaks Up for the Environment: An Interview with Margaret Brouwer __________________________________
  • NEW! Twelve Years of Celebrating Malcolm Arnold in Northampton __________________________________
  • NEW! What is the Critic’s Job? A Review of A. O. Scott’s Recent Book __________________________________
  • NEW! English Music Festival in Yorkshire Lifts the Lid Off an English Treasury __________________________________
  • NEW! A FULLY STAGED PILGRIM’S PROGRESS IN ORLEANS, MA __________________________________
  • NEW! JIŘÍ BĔLOHLÁVEK (1946-2017) AND THE CZECH CONDUCTING LEGACY __________________________________
  • NEW! JUSTIN DOYLE DISCUSSES MONTEVERDI WITH MARK BERRY __________________________________
  • NEW! Katie Lowe Wins the 2017 Elizabeth Connell Prize __________________________________
  • NEW! ITINÉRAIRE BAROQUE 2017: TON KOOPMAN TALKS TO COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House in Mumbai is Restored to its Former Glory __________________________________
  • Archives by Week

    Archives by Month

    Search S&H