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Cape Town Opera: Rising to the occasion during a milestone year

By Keith Bain

Charting a new course amidst a global pandemic

     But all of this activity was suddenly paused in 2020, starting with the postponement of a special gala performance at Kirstenbosch Gardens by UCT-trained Pumeza Matshikiza, who is now Europe-based but regarded among the world’s most recognised South African voices. She was due to perform alongside tenor Sipho Fubesi, accompanied by CTO’s chorus, just days before South Africa was locked down in March.
      ‘With our schedule suddenly cleared out, we had to chart a new course,’ remarks CTO’s artistic director Matthew Wild who has for six year’s steered the company’s choice of productions for its seasonal calendar.

‘It was a particularly tough blow, as our planned 2020 season was unusually full of major international collaborations (in Germany, Switzerland and Austria) which had taken many years to plan,’ he adds.

CTO’s artistic director Matthew Wild

Yet, despite witnessing most of its plans for 2020 ‘come crashing down’ it’s striking to hear Wild begin talking about ‘the season that keeps on giving’ as CTO adapted its plans, developed new strategies, and embraced digital technology as an unpredictable future played out.
     ‘We were guided by the sense of responsibility we felt towards our company members, our freelance collaborators, our audience members, and our funders,’ he says.
     From delivering food parcels to struggling ad hoc singers, to repurposing the company’s production department to manufacture facemasks for distribution to school learners, CTO stayed the course.
     Creative people are, after all, problem solvers.

Continue reading Cape Town Opera: Making the best of lockdown & the digital realm

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