Not too long ago we saw the final curtain call for the celebrated 30-year-old Dance Umbrella. This was followed by more sad news for the arts fraternity when it was announced Gauteng Opera would come to an end as well. Funding from private and foreign donations dried up, leading the board of directors to announce Gauteng Opera would shut down on 31 March.
Gauteng Opera has played a big role in introducing opera and classical music to the public for the past 18 years, also offering training to more than 150 singers, technical experts and art administrators.
Its artistic director, Phenye Modiane, has said unless Gauteng Opera raises R1-million by Sunday, they will close shop.
"Due to the prevailing socioeconomic environment, it has proven very difficult for Gauteng Opera to raise enough funds to cover all its operational needs. So, it is with a heavy heart that the board of Gauteng Opera has resolved to shut down the company and cease all operations by 31 March," the organisation said in a statement.
"This has been an agonising decision, and the board and management of Gauteng Opera considered all available options and, short of a miracle we will not be able, in good conscience and within our requirements, carry on and risk putting the company and all its stakeholders knowingly in peril."
Since its inception in 2000, the Gauteng Opera has impressed audiences and nurtured remarkable opera singers who have continued to amaze South African and international audiences in shows such as La Traviata, L’elisir D’amore, and One Voice.
Opera singer Njabulo Madlala commented on Facebook: “I heard so much incredible talent. They all have these voices, but no work and nowhere to work. There is little hope. We need intervention in South Africa.”
Sunday’s concert, Sacred Songs will consist of the most well-known sacred music to celebrate Easter, including Ave Maria, Panis Angelicus, Pie Jesu, Every Time I feel the Spirit and Goin’ Home.
These songs will be performed by Khayakazi Madlala (soprano), Yolanda Nyembezi (mezzo-soprano), Phenye Modiane (tenor), Kagiso Boroko (tenor), Lindo Maso (tenor), Kanyiso Kula (tenor), Chuma Sijeqa (baritone) and Solly Motaung (baritone).
* Sacred Songs will be performed on Sunday, March 18, at the Tin Town Theatre. All proceeds and donations will go to ensuring a last salary for the artists and staff of Gauteng Opera.
This article first appeared on 702 : The final curtain for Gauteng Opera