Over the past 20 years, the annual RMB Starlight Classics concerts, both at the Country Club Johannesburg and Vergelegen Wine Estate, have pulled crowds and filled both venues to capacity. This Spring 20th anniversary concert in Joburg promises to be yet another proud, Afro-symphonic tribute to our beautiful country.
The line-up has been as carefully planned as always, with something for everyone. Singing duo Nhlanhla Nciza and Theo Kgosinkwe, of Mafikizolo fame, will join RMB Starlight Classics in also celebrating their 20-year creative partnership this year.
Also taking to the stage is Zoë Modiga, a celebrated jazz singer/songwriter who is in demand at jazz festivals, from Joy of Jazz to the Cape Town International Jazz Festival. A special treat for opera lovers is South Africa’s very own international diva, the acclaimed soprano Elza van den Heever – ‘blessed with a plush, dramatic voice capable of formidable power and dazzling high notes.’
Ard Matthews, the frontman of South African band Just Jinjer; much-loved baritone Aubrey Lodewyk, who is certainly no stranger to the audience; and tenor Phenye Modiane of Gauteng Opera fame, will all be performing. This show also welcomes Rocco de Villiers, pianist, composer, musical director and cocktail connoisseur.
A refreshing addition this year, is that for the first time in its 20-year history, a female conductor, Unathi Malunga, will share the Starlight stage under the creative baton with Maestro Richard Cock. This is a significant milestone and Creative Feel is very excited about this opportunity for Malunga.
Malunga describes herself quite simply: ‘Forget the “out-of-the-box thinker!” With Unathi, there is no box!’
Looking at her career thus far, there are several boxes wherein she could be contained, but in true Malunga style, she has pursued two very distinct careers in order to reach her ultimate dream – to be the first and best black African woman conductor of classical music with an international following, and to show the world what African women can achieve.
Malunga’s participation in the concert is certainly a big step towards achieving her goal. Like so many other young promising artists who were given a chance at RMB Starlight Classics Concerts, she will share the international ranks of Pretty Yende, Pumeza Matshikiza, the Mzansi Youth Choir, Brandon Phillips, Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, and many more.
To read more about Malunga’s studies under the directorship of Ian Smith and Dr Ishbel Sholto-Douglas, growing up, and how she became the lawyer who is often asked to manage these very projects through to completion, purchase our August 2018 issue of Creative Feel or continue supporting the arts and culture sector by subscribing to our monthly magazine.