South African classical music fans and concertgoers will be delighted to learn that the distinguished American musician, Marin Alsop, is among the nominees for the 44th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards. Her nomination, which appeared online last week under the Outstanding Arts and Culture Documentary category ‘Great Performances’, is for her appearance in the PBS documentary The Conductor.
The Conductor tells the story of Alsop, the first female conductor of a major symphony orchestra, and her journey from playing the violin as an ambitious nine-year-old who longed to conduct, to attending Juilliard, to creating her own all-female string orchestra and swing band, to ultimately becoming music director of Baltimore Symphony Orchestra. Despite repeated rejection from the classical music establishment, Alsop persevered and blazed her own trail which gained her attention as a conductor and opened new opportunities for her that led to studying with legendary composer Leonard Bernstein. Featuring cinema verité scenes of Alsop conducting some of the world’s great orchestras, the documentary was, appropriately, shown in the US in March in celebration of Women’s History month.
The exciting news is that Alsop will soon undertake her second South African national tour at the helm of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra (MNPO). The three-city tour, which forms part of South Africa’s Women’s Month celebrations in August, follows her debut appearances on the orchestra’s podium during its sold-out inaugural tour in December last year.
Appearing as soloist on the forthcoming tour’s roster is the swiftly rising superstar-in-the-making, Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha. One of South Africa’s most admired new generation sopranos, the diva has already taken the international opera circuit by storm, performing in many of the world’s leading venues including London’s Royal Albert Hall, and the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden.
Mzansi Philharmonic’s SA tour itinerary opens in the Linder Auditorium in Johannesburg on Thursday 10 August at 19:30, followed by a second concert in the Cape Town City Hall on Saturday 12 August at 19:30. The final performance takes place in the Featherstone Market in Gqeberha on Monday 14 August at 18:30.
An enticing programme of concert showstoppers will be performed in each venue. Showcasing Rangwanasha’s lustrous soprano, the first half of the evening will be given over to operatic highlights from Verdi’s La forza del destino, Mascagni’s Cavalleria rusticana, Puccini’s Turandot, and Wagner’s Lohengrin and Tannhäuser. The audience will then be treated to a performance of Mahler’s titanic Fifth Symphony – seldom performed in South Africa – to bring the evening to a resounding close.
Booking is essential for these three extraordinary concerts that are synonymous with live music delivered by the world’s A-list classical artists, so fans are urged to secure their tickets from Quicket. Call 021 424 9308 or log onto email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org.