• Choral & Opera
  • Cape Town Opera

    Making their first-ever UK visit, Cape Town Opera brought their vibrant and heartfelt production of “Porgy and Bess” to Wales Millennium Centre, Edinburgh Festival Theatre and London’s Royal Festival Hall during October 2009. The performances won huge acclaim from audiences and critics alike, with The Times declaring that “on the strength of its glorious Gershwin, Cape Town Opera should be invited back – soon and often”.

    Cape Town Opera returned to the UK in June/July 2012 for seven weeks of touring with both “Porgy and Bess” and the European premiere of a new production “Mandela Trilogy – A Musical Tribute to the Life of Nelson Mandela”.

    Set in three acts by George Gershwin, DuBose and Dorothy Heyward and Ira Gershwin, “Porgy and Bess” is widely regarded as one of the operatic masterpieces of the 20th century, and features much-loved songs such as “Summertime”, “It ain’t necessarily so” and “Bess, you is my woman now”. In the hands of Cape Town Opera, many of whose singers are drawn from the city’s townships, the work has a newfound power and relevance.

    From prisoner to president, “Mandela Trilogy” tells the extraordinary life story of Nelson Mandela. Set in three contrasting sections – highlighting Mandela’s traditional upbringing in the Eastern Cape; the turbulent but heady atmosphere of the townships at the onset of Apartheid; and finally Mandela’s long years in prison – the production employs a variety of musical styles, as well as an outstanding cast of over 40 performers, to cast new light on one of the world’s most iconic figures.

    Cape Town Opera, a non-profit organisation, inspires, entertains and develops audiences through its acclaimed stage productions, educational outreach and community development programmes and unsurpassed training and skills development initiatives. It boasts a hugely talented ensemble of predominantly black singers and presents an extensive programme of world-class productions. The company is committed to the continued performance and development of opera, operetta and musical theatre in South Africa and aspires to be a source of national pride, enriching the lives of all South Africans. Cape Town Opera is at the forefront of transformation in the performing arts and is regarded as a key-player in providing training and job opportunities to artists from previously disadvantaged communities. These performers often come to Cape Town Opera with little formal training but have a passion for choral singing and a natural ability that shines from stage.

    The Cape Town Opera Chorus performs in the company’s main opera productions, educational school tours, public concerts and fundraisers. Their continuing education at Cape Town Opera includes master classes, individual voice lessons, physical training, as well as music and stagecraft instruction. Under the guidance of Chorus Master Albert Horne, the Chorus has performed at numerous local and international venues and events, with an impressive repertoire drawn from diverse genres, and consists of singers drawn from communities across South Africa. The core group of this Chorus is Cape Town Opera’s resident choral group, the Cape Town Opera Voice of the Nation Ensemble, 23 talented singers who are considered the artistic ambassadors for Cape Town Opera’s unique operatic sound, having performed across South Africa and numerous international cities, such as London, Berlin, Munich, Oslo and Paris. The Voice of the Nation Ensemble forms the musical backbone of Cape Town Opera’s productions – not only as the chorus component, but also performing individual, smaller roles.

  • Orchestras
  • Caracas Symphony Orchestra

    Dietrich Paredes is the orchestra’s Music Director.

    The Caracas Symphony Orchestra (formerly known as the Youth Orchestra of Caracas) has now become one of the most representative orchestras of the National System of Youth and Children’s Orchestras and Choirs of Venezuela, founded by Maestro José Antonio Abreu 40 years ago.

    In 2011, the Orchestra made its international debut at the Bergen International Music Festival, followed by a highly acclaimed tour to Asia with concerts in China and Korea. In 2012, the orchestra’s touring work included concerts throughout Europe. In 2013 the Orchestra made its debut at the Salzburg Festival as part of an historic El Sistema residency involving over 1,000 young musicians. In addition, it also performed for the first time in Japan and returned to Korea.

    In 2014, the Orchestra returned to Europe with concerts in Zurich, Hamburg, Paris, Budapest and Vienna among other cities.

  • Orchestras
  • Chicago Symphony Orchestra

    The Chicago Symphony Orchestra is consistently hailed as one of today’s leading orchestras. Performances by the CSO are much in demand at home and in the most prestigious music capitals of the world. In September 2010, renowned Italian conductor Riccardo Muti became the CSO’s tenth music director.

    Askonas Holt has worked with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra on a number of major tours, including visits to Asia and Europe in 2009 under the baton of Bernard Haitink, and most recently a further tour of Asian capital cities conducted by Lorin Maazel and Osmo Vänskä.

  • Orchestras
  • China National Centre for Performing Arts Orchestra

    China NCPA Orchestra is the resident orchestra of National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA), Beijing. Established in March 2010, the orchestra performs in more than a dozen opera productions presented by its home venue every year as well as in regular orchestral concerts in its own season.

    Artists associated with the orchestra included Zubin Mehta, Valery Gergiev, Myung-Whun Chung, Christoph Eschenbach, Vladimir Ashkenazy, Fabio Luisi, Lang Lang and Yuja Wang among many others.

    The orchestra has gained critical acclaim for its performances in the NCPA’s opera productions of not only classical repertoire, but works such as Tosca, Die Fledermaus, Lohengrin, Aida, Nabucco, but also newly commissioned works like The Chinese Orphan and The Rickshaw Boy. Their performance of the mammoth Ring Without Words with its creator, Lorin Maazel, was released on SONY Classics worldwide, the only recording the great maestro ever made with a Chinese orchestra.

    The orchestra has also explored extensively incontemporary music. It gave the Chinese premieres of works by Toru Takemitsu and Giya Kancheli and the world premieres of many works by Michael Gordon and Augusta Read Thomas. The NCPA Orchestra has flexed its wings on the international stage, receiving widespread international praise for its performancesat the Kissingen Summer Music Festival and the Schleswig-Holstein Musik Festival and concerts in many cities throughout Germany as well as in Sydney, Singapore, Seoul, Daegu, Taipei and Macau. During the 2014/2015 season, the orchestra undertook its first North American tour, where it performed in seven major cities in the US and Canada, under their Chief Conductor Lü Jia.