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A new Cape Town Opera production takes a stand against gender-based violence

Cape Town Opera presents One in Three from 25 November to 11 December 2022, a compilation of powerful opera and play extracts aiming to raise awareness of gender-based violence.

Cape Town Opera gender violence LQBTQIA play performance

One in Three, which takes its name from the proportion of women and girls who experience abuse in South Africa, is co-directed by Magdalene Minnaar and Christine Crouse, with musical accompaniment by pianist Francois Botha, flautist Solomon Mannel and bassoonist Erika Weber. Movement direction is by Fiona du Plooy, costume design by Maritha Visagie, musical direction by Marvin Kernelle, lighting design by Faheem Bardien and artworks by craftivist Nell-Louise Pollock.

Cape Town Opera’s Artistic Director Magdalene Minnaar has invited several women who are advocates for ending gender-based violence, to share a few words in between the opera performances. An embroidered artwork by featured artist Nell-Louise Pollock, an impassioned GBV activist whose work is integrated into the performance and who will be one of the guest speakers, has been used as the GBV concert programme cover. It is a stark piece that represents the women, children and LGBTQIA+ communities that are silenced by gender-based violence.  

‘None of us are immune to the consequences of gender-based violence in our communities. I want people to pause, pay respect, become aware and spread the message to end GBV.’

Nell-Louise Pollock
Cape Town Opera gender violence LQBTQIA play performance
Nonhlanhla Yende and Nicole Holm

Extracts from the spirited Porgy and Bess, composed to a libretto by DuBose Heyward and lyricist Ira Gershwin, features Nonhlanhla Yende as Bess and Mandisinde Mbuyazwe as Crown. In the story, the titular Bess is abused by her man, Crown, and the drug peddler Sportin’ Life, throughout the opera. Her attempts to find safety and a new life for herself with Porgy are constantly thwarted by the men’s interference and violence, threatening not only her autonomy but also her life. 

Amagokra (Heroes), composed by Sibusiso Njeza to an isiXhosa libretto by Fleur du Cap-winning actress and writer Chuma Sopotela sees Linda Nteleza as Uyinene, Pumza Mxinwa and Lusibalwethu Sesanti as Umfazi, Nonhlanhla Yende as Nomakhwezi and Narrator, joined by the award-winning Cape Town Opera Chorus. The plot grapples with themes of gender-based violence, femicide, victim-blaming and, ultimately, women’s strength through ordeal.

Cape Town Opera gender violence LQBTQIA play performance
Nonhlanhla Yende and Nicole Holm

Excerpts from Die Kortstondige Raklewe van Anatasia W. (The short shelf-life of Anastasia W.), a play written by Marlene van Niekerk with incidental music by Braam du Toit, features guest artist Nicole Holm as Sus and Cape Town Opera Young Artist Van Wyk Venter as Daan. The play was written in response to the appalling statistics of violence against children in South Africa. The Anastasia named in the title refers to little Annestacia Wiese, the 11-year-old girl who was assaulted and murdered in Mitchell’s Plain in 2007.  

Cape Town Opera will be offering complimentary tickets for both One in Three concerts taking place at Artscape on Friday 25 November at 18:30 and on Saturday 26 November at 15:00. Those wishing to support these performances in support of GBV awareness should email by no later than 23 November 2022 and they will be contacted by return email. Tickets will be issued on a first-come-first-served basis. Anyone who has already bought tickets will still be able to attend, and will be refunded in due course.

There are free performances taking place at the White City Multipurpose venue in Saldanha on 4 December at 15:00 and on 11 December at 15:00 at the Stellenbosch Town Hall. 

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