New Opera Company Launched

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.

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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).


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