Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

Operetta Gala Concert – Greenside Theatre – 24 November 2013 @ 16:00

Monday, October 28th, 2013

Come and enjoy an evening of Operetta favorites with Sempre Opera and the Sempre Opera Instrumental Ensemble at the Greenside theatre.



Sempre Opera concludes 2013 in true Viennese style
After three successful concerts dedicated to Verdi celebrations in 2013, Sempre Opera’s last concert for the year will be on a lighter note. On 24 November at 16:00 Sempre Opera with the Sempre Opera Ensemble under the baton of conductor Schalk van der Merwe, will be presenting a concert in true Viennese style at the Greenside Theatre, Johannesburg. The programme comprises arias, duets and ensembles from well-known operettas such as Candide (Bernstein), Die Lustige Witwe and Paganini (Lehár), Der Zigeunerbaron and Die Fledermaus (Johann Strauss, Jr.), The Gondoliers and The Mikado (Gilbert and Sullivan) as well as La Périchole (Offenbach) and Ciboulette (Hahn).
Sempre Opera’s instrumental ensemble and the pianists Paul Ferreira, Ferdi Geyer and Eugene Joubert, will accompany the singers and play overtures from Wiener Blut and Die Fledermaus (Strauss). The singers sharing the stage are the sopranos Deirdre Blignaut-Rautenbach, Linelle Wimbles, Akiko Haldane, Sonica Bucksteg and Alexandra Wald, the mezzo-sopranos Aukse Trinkunas and Linette van der Merwe, the tenors Chris Mostert, Coert Grobbelaar, Thabo Sithole and Johan Coertzen, and the baritones Danie Verster, Johan Scheepers and Christopher Vale.
Works to be performed include, amongst other, the well-loved Vilja song and the romantic Lippen Schweigen (Lehár), the delightful Three little maids from school (Gilbert and Sullivan), Prince Orlofsky’s aria, the duet Komm mit mir zum super and the dramatic Czárdás from Die Fledermaus
Tickets for the operetta concert will be available at the door at R130 and R100 (for pensioners) and include coffee and tea during the interval. A cash bar service will be on offer.

The Greenside Theatre is situated on the premises of the Greenside Jewish Congregation, 7A Chester Road in Greenside East. The GPS coordinates are: -26.150546 | 28.024675

For further information, contact Hannie Hefer on 011 793 2334 or Johan at the Theatre on  083 691 9032 or send an email to

Online tickets availible at

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Verdi Celebration Concert – Greenside Theatre, Johannesburg

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Sempre Opera Greenside Theatre - Verdi Celebration

Sempre Opera celebrates two centuries of Verdi in Johannesburg Together with the international opera world, Sempre Opera celebrates Giuseppe Verdi’s two-hundredth birthday this year. A Verdi concert will be held on Sunday afternoon, 26 May at 15:30 in the Greenside Theatre, Johannesburg. This will be the second of three concerts in honour of one of the best-known opera composers. A selection of arias and ensembles, ranging from the time of his first opera (Oberto, 1839) to his last (Falstaff, 1893), will be performed. Giuseppe Verdi was born on 10 October 1813 in Parma, North Italy. Amongst locals he was known as the ‘swan of Busseto’, referring to the town where he lived. As noted composer of 30 Romantic operas, works such as Nabucco (1842), Rigoletto (1851 ), La Traviata (1953), Don Carlos (1867) and Otello (1887) are still frequently staged to captivate opera-lovers world-wide. Even those who claim to know nothing about opera will hum along with ‘Va pensiero’ (Nabucco), ‘La donna e mobile’ (Rigoletto) and the Anvil chorus (Il Trovatore). Sempre Opera’s second Verdi concert consists of a wide variety of arias and ensembles from his opera oeuvre. On Sunday 26 May at 15:30, audiences may look forward to excerpts from Oberto, with Aukse Trinkunas (mezzo soprano) and Chris Mostert (tenor) as well as Otello, with soprano Jo-Nette LeKay and tenor Coert Grobbelaar. Favourites from La Traviata, Rigoletto and Don Carlos may also be heard. Also on the programme are arias from Luisa Miller, Nabucco, La Forza del Destino, Un Ballo in Maschera and Falstaff with soprano Deirdré Blignaut-Rautenbach, mezzo soprano Linette van der Merwe and baritone Danie Verster. Two pianists, Ferdi Geyer and Paul Ferreira, will accompany the opera singers. Tickets for the Sempre Opera Verdi Celebration Concert of R100 and R80 (for pensioners) are available on-line at from the 1st of May or may be purchased at the theatre.

Those interested may contact Hannie Hefer at 011 793 2334 or send an email to

Verdi (1813-1901) Celebration Concert – Wakkerstroom Music Festival 2013

Monday, April 8th, 2013

The Wakkerstroom Music Festival was held on the weekend of 21-23 March 2013. Sempre Opera performed with “Verdi Bicentennial Concert”. Below an excerpt from a review by Paul Boekooi:

“Daar was vele ander hoogtepunte: Sempre Opera se gedenkkonsert vir Verdi (1813-1901) waarin vokale afronding en dramatiese krag in tien uittreksels tot lewe geroep is. Die toegif, “Va pensiero” uit Nabucco, was aangrypend en is ook tydens die galakonsert Saterdagaand gehoor”. (Paul Boekooi, Beeld 27 Maart 2013)

There were many other highlights: Sempre Opera performed ten excerpts in the Verdi (1813-1901) celebration concert where vocal finishing and dramatic power was brought to life. The encore, “Va Pensiero”, from Nabucco was moving and was also heard at the Saturday evening’s gala concert. (Paul Boekooi, Beeld 27 March 2013)

Sempre Opera in Wakkerstroom 2013

In Love With Opera – 15 February 2013 at the Groenkloof Auditorium, University of Pretoria

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

In Love with Opera celebrates love and the concert programme comprises of duets such as the romantic “Barcarolle” from Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Offenbach) sung by Deirdre Blignaut-Rautenbach (soprano) and Linette van der Merwe (mezzo soprano) and the well-known letter duet “Sull’aria” from Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro performed by the sopranos Akiko Haldane and Sonica Bücksteg. Furthermore, popular duets from Madama Butterfly (Puccini) sung by Alexandra Wald (soprano) and Coert Grobbelaar (tenor) as well as Porgy and Bess (Gershwin) featuring Thabang Senekal (bass-baritone) promise to thrill the audience.In Love with Opera

Sempre Opera members also performing during the first half include Paulo Esteves (baritone), Johan Scheepers (bass) and Chris Mostert (tenor). The second half of the programme comprises of scenes from the operas Werther (Massenet) and, on a lighter note, L’elisir d’amore (Donizetti). The scene from Werther is known as the letter scene and features the well-known letter aria “Werther! Qui m’aurait dit” sung by Aukse Trinkunas (mezzo-soprano) as Charlotte. Stéfan Louw (tenor) sings the name role and Linelle Wimbles (soprano) will be seen as Sophie, Charlotte’s sister.

In L’elisir d’amore, Linelle Wimbles appears as Adina and Chris Mostert is Nemorino who drinks a love elixir hoping to make Adina his wife. Belcore, sung by Thabang Senekal, is Adina’s beloved and tries to thwart Nemorino’s romantic plans. Ilse Myburgh and Ferdi Geyer are the accompanists, and Elizabeth Lombaard the director for this concert. The opera scenes will be conducted by Gerben Grooten.

Tickets for In Love with Opera are available at R110. Those interested may direct inquiries to or phone 082 923 1540/082 896 5018.

New Opera Company Launched

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

On Sunday 27 March 2011 a group of professional opera singers came together in Pretoria and established Sempre Opera, a non-profit organisation that aims to create opportunities for professional opera singers.  The intention is to perform lesser known operas throughout South Africa in a bid to make true opera accessible to the nation.


When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  This is exactly what a group of professional opera singers decided to do in times that are tough for opera in South Africa.  They came together and decided to take the first steps in creating job opportunities for themselves.

“The idea behind Sempre Opera is to regularly bring full operas to life on stages throughout South Africa,” says tenor Stéfan Louw.  ” At the outset we will perform shorter operas with piano accompaniment on lesser known stages in Gauteng, but it will be full opera of exceptional artistic standard,” he continues.  The singers will not only perform on stage, but also work together to raise funds, build sets, design costumes and assist with technical aspects such as lighting.  Louw added that, when singers are not performing as soloists, they will be involved in the production by means of stage management, direction, conducting and even making up the chorus.

The initial group consists of 22 singers, of which the majority have extensive opera stage experience.  Two pianists will also form part of the group.  The internationally acclaimed soprano Carla Pohl has joined the group in an advisory role and also serves on Sempre Opera’s Artistic Management Team.  “I am proud of this brave group of opera singers,” she says.  “In tough times, they are standing together, strong in the belief that their selfless efforts will produce top quality opera productions.”

The singers are looking forward to making the announcement of their first production.  “This will happen very soon,” says the soprano Hanli Stapela who, together with her fellow opera singers, is keen to start working on the first production.

An opera produced by passionate professionals will surely be a must-see.

For more information e-mail

Photo caption:
Back (from left to right): Marisa Louw (soprano), Stephan Gericke (baritone), Welmien Coetzee (soprano), Stéfan Louw (tenor), Chris Mostert (tenor) and Jean-Frederic Pienaar (tenor).  Front (from left to right): Hanli Stapela (soprano), Deirdre Blignaut (soprano), Linette van der Merwe (mezzo-soprano) and Eileen van Zyl (soprano).

Genesis… Sempre Opera

Sunday, March 27th, 2011

Today, on the last Sunday of March 2011, history was made with the inception of  Sempre Opera. In celebration of this exciting venture, a catchphrase from the 1940s says it all – Play [and sing] the music and open the cage…

Viva Sempre Opera!