Two 2023 Fleur du Cap Award-winners, a Judith Neilson Young Artist, multi award-winning musicians in both international and local competitions and an energetic opera programme carefully compiled.
This is what awaits the audience of the ATKV-Galakonsert met Kaapstad Opera on Saturday 4 August during the 14th Klein Karoo Klassique in Oudtshoorn.
Four soloists from Cape Town Opera present an unforgettable highlight at this classical music festival. Sopranos Brittany Smith and Alida Scheepers share the stage with tenor Lukhanyo Moyake and baritone Conroy Scott, accompanied by José Dias on piano.
Smith and Scott received the 2023 Fleur du Cap Awards for Best Female and Male Performances in an Opera, for their interpretations in Cape Town Opera’s Le Nozze di Figaro. Smith says this award was unexpected. “It only became a reality to me a week and a half later. The Fleur du Cap is recognition of my hard work and strict work ethic. Hopefully it is the first step towards many more theatre awards.”
For Scott this award is affirmation of the career path that he has chosen as a musician, and even more so as an opera singer. “Receiving this award strengthens that desire to do better. It stands among one of my highlights as an opera singer, as a musician and hopefully this opens doors to greater opportunities, for myself as an individual, but also for the opera company as a whole,” says Scott.
Scott performed at Klassique in 2021 in the opera La Bohème and says he looks forward to performing in the ATKV-Galakonsert in front of a Klein Karoo audience without any Covid-19 restrictions. “I’m especially looking forward to seeing the reactions on the faces of the audience again. Having that connection with the audience is something we’ve really missed during Covid-19 with all the restrictions.”
Moyake was on stage with Scott in La Bohème and is excited to perform in front of a big audience in Oudtshoorn. “Festivalgoers will be treated to good music, from opera to musicals and exciting duets.”
Magdalene Minnaar, Artistic Director of Cape Town Opera, says they have compiled a special programme for Klein Karoo Klassique, with highlights from opera arias and musicals selected out of two larger programmes they are presenting this year. “It offers opera connoisseurs something new that they may not have heard before, but also old familiar and wonderful opera hits for those who are newer to opera. José Dias compiled this programme and is an incredible music director. It is energetic, moving, and full of life.”
She says festivalgoers can’t miss the ATKV-Galakonsert. “It is a showstopper every year. Just to hear these phenomenal soloists is an honour. Conroy and Lukhanyo are back in South Africa after major international careers, and it is wonderful to have artists of this calibre on our doorstep. The singing is of a remarkably high quality.”
Minnaar is well-known to Klassique audiences and has been on stage at this festival several times. “Klein Karoo Klassique is one of the most important classical festivals in the country and I wish that there were more festivals of its kind. Over the past few years, every time I performed here has been a great honour for me, because it is almost like a boutique festival with an exquisite choice of artists. It is a fantastic place for audiences – more intimate and there are many nice restaurants. Every time is a fantastic experience,” she concludes.
Gerrie Lemmer, CEO of culture at the ATKV, a partner of Klein Karoo Klassique since 2010, says the ATKV highly values strategic partnerships that think, invest, work and dream to the benefit of classical music and musicians. “It is the ATKV’s mission to proactively look after the diverse art needs of the South African community in a sustainable way and Klein Karoo Klassique presents the ideal platform for this. The main aim of this partnership is to support classical music and the performing arts in South Africa. Klassique is an excellent event where the ATKV and strategic partners can celebrate classical music in a proudly South African way.”
According to him, there is a deep need amongst most South Africans for events like Klassique, that speaks to the soul and can change people’s lives. “I can’t think of a better place than the Klein Karoo to feed your soul.” For Lemmer, a highlight on this year’s programme is undoubtedly Karoonag met die Suid-Kaap Kinderkoor en vriende, because young people and choir music are very dear to him. “The ATKV-Galakonsert met Kaapstad Opera will also be a special experience,” he concludes.
Scheepers, the 2023 Young Artist of Cape Town Opera’s Judith Neilson programme, captivated audiences at Klassique last year and agrees with Lemmer that this year’s ATKV-Galakonsert will be a highlight. “This concert is everything that audiences expect from a Gala Concert and will capture the spirit of the festival.”
For her, Klassique is very special, because it is presented in an Afrikaans environment and Afrikaans is close to her heart. “It makes this festival unique and being able to talk to audiences and join the festivities in Afrikaans, makes me as an Afrikaans artist feel very much at home. Both Afrikaans artists and guest artists who are not necessarily Afrikaans, can experience the beauty of Afrikaans here.”
About the Judith Neilson programme she says: “I’m learning so much and the programme offers incredible practical, professional experience. You learn a role, act the role and go through the whole process of performing the role: the theatre, the art of entertainment and the costumes. This is something you don’t learn at university. Furthermore, the programme exposes artists to the public and offers an opportunity to work with some of the best musicians in the country.”
Scheepers and Smith also share the stage with the South Cape Children’s Choir and Coenie de Villiers on Friday 4 August at 19:00 in ’n Karoonag met die Suid-Kaap Kinderkoor en vriende. They respectively sing Le Roux Marais’s “Heimwee” and Mozart’s “Laudate Dominum” with the choir.
Klein Karoo Klassique is presented in Oudtshoorn by the KKNK from Thursday 3 to Sunday 6 August, supported by the Rupert Music Foundation and ATKV.
Tickets are available at Webtickets, Pick n Pay, or the KKNK office. Available tickets are also on sale at the door before each recital. An exclusive Klassique Package offers access to nine recitals at a total discount of 30%. Klassique Package ticketholders also receive a 30% discount on their festival accommodation in the Queen’s Hotel, subject to availability. For more accommodation options in and around Oudtshoorn, visit Klassique’s accommodation partner LekkeSlaap.
Photos: Tenor Lukhanyo Moyake and soprano Alida Scheepers from Cape Town Opera are on stage for this year’s Klein Karoo Klassique ATKV-Galakonsert.