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Gauteng Opera presents Giacomo Puccini’s La bohème

Gauteng Opera
Chuma Sijeqa (Schaunard), Litho Nqai (Musetta), Phenye Modiane (Rodolfo), Khayakazi Madlala (Mimi), Solly Motaung (Marcello)

During July, Gauteng Opera will present one of the most well-known and all-time favourite operas on the regular opera performance circuit: La bohème, generously supported by the Joburg Theatre and Creative Feel.

From 18 to 23 July 2017, Gauteng’s most vibrant opera company will present this heartwarming opera by composer Giacomo Puccini, with the libretto written by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa. La bohème premiered on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio in Turin, Italy. Gauteng Opera is proud and honoured to invite South African bass, currently working extensively in Europe, Vuyani Mlinde, to perform the role of Colline. Mlinde was the first ‘incubator’ with Gauteng Opera (then known as Black Tie Ensemble) in 2001. In 2004 he left South Africa, and in 2007 became a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists Programme at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. We are proud to welcome back one of our own. Other cast members include Khayakazi Madlala as Mimi, Phenye Modiane as Rodolfo, Litho Nqai as Musetta and Solly Motaung will sing the role of her jealous lover, Marcello. Gauteng Opera CEO, Marcus Desando will direct this brand-new production with set design by exciting new designer, Lungile Cindi.

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This ‘human’ opera revolves around four friends – particularly two of them: Rodolfo, a poor poet who falls in love with Mimi, a neighbour in the building where they live; and Marcello who has a stormy relationship with Musetta. The story is universal and ageless. The new Kobbés Opera book describes it as follows: ‘In La bohème, Puccini’s melodic invention and its turn to expressive use is at fullest flood, and he combines it with an epigrammatic, conversational conciseness that is unique in his output, technically adroit though that always is.’ Performances of La bohème will take place on Tuesday, 18 July at 20:00, Thursday, 20 July at 20:00, Saturday, 22 July at 20:00 and Sunday, 23 July at 15:00. Tickets range from R200 – R500 and are available by calling 0861 670 670, online at or and in person at the Joburg Theatre box office. Patrons can also book and pay via the Nedbank app and at selected Pick ‘n Pay stores (full list at For more information, log on to, visit Gauteng Opera’s Facebook page or follow @GautengOpera on Twitter.

Vuyani Mlinde (bass) joined Gauteng Opera (then called Black Tie Ensemble) in 2001 and made his opera debut for the company in their 2001 production of Verdi’s Rigoletto in the role of Sparafucile. Although young and a student in the company, he sang the role of Bonze in Puccini’s Madama Butterfly in 2002 and followed with the role of Colline in La bohème in 2004. Mlinde won an eight-month scholarship from the Opera Queensland Young Artists’ Programme (Australia) in October 2004, a full scholarship for 2004/2005 at the Royal College of Music in London, and a full scholarship for the Benjamin Britten International Opera School. Highlight performances during this time include the role of Raphael in Haydn’s Oratorio, The Creation with Maestro John-Elliot Gardiner at the Carnegie Concert Hall in New York, the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam and at the Pisa Festival in 2009. Then followed the role of the doctor in Macbeth for the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra in London, performances in Paris and Madrid, another Creation with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra and Andres Nelson’s Bach Magnificat at de Doelen – Rotterdam and performances with Concerto Copenhagen, to name a few. Over the years Mlinde has established himself as a bass opera singer in Europe and currently resides in Lucerne, Switzerland. Mlinde is excited to come back to South Africa to perform in an opera in South Africa, for the first time since he left in 2004, and then again for Gauteng Opera. ‘It feels like I am coming home at last.’

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