Cape Town Opera
The Opera House in Cape Town has been involved in educating underprivileged South African singers for a number of years. Only since the end of apartheid in 1994 have black singers been permitted to perform on stage.
Originally, the Cape Town Opera House was an institution of whites for whites. It was the only opera house of five South African music theatres to withstand the reorganization phase at the end of apartheid. In 1994 it became a place of cultural reconciliation.
Today, the Cape Town Opera, which, aside from Cairo, is the only opera in Africa that is open all year round, stands for a new beginning – in art too.
The majority of the singers at the Cape Town opera come from the townships or from the countryside of the Western Cape. The singing talents are almost always discovered during auditions. Their voices are mostly untrained and inexperienced, yet still – or perhaps because of this – they are incredibly convincing and moving.
Ninety percent of the singers from the Cape Town Opera are from the townships, where the people cannot afford to buy tickets for the opera in the centre of Cape Town. Getting there and back is also a problem due to the fact that public transport is practically non-existent in Cape Town.
Most of the singers – despite the fact that they are in opera choirs or are already soloists – still live in their tin huts in the townships. Some of then can now even afford small stone houses – a luxury for these people. But the closeness of the families in the townships is much more important than a luxurious life in the city.