South Africa already won the most special prize by being chosen to host the ‘Operatic World Cup’ (with Cape Town being the first African city to do so). But, we also walked away with another big win thanks to the vocals of soprano savant, Nombulelo Yende!
Cape Town, South Africa (06 November 2023) — South Africa enjoyed a win from the offset of the 30th annual Operalia (AKA the ‘Operatic World Cup’) even before any local performers set foot on stage. This is because Cape Town’s hosting performance was the first time an African city has ever played host to the Operalia—a super special prize for our continent’s opera lovers.
However, South Africa did walk away with another prize after the finalists were announced on Sunday evening thanks to soprano savant Nombulelo Yende.
Yende was one of two South African talents to make the finals alongside mezzo-soprano Siphokazi Molteno who secured a finals performance for the Zarzuela stretch of Placido Domingo’s Operalia.
Yende went on to win the CulturArte Special Prize of $ 10,000 (over R180,000) for her talented vocals and has made history as the first South African to be awarded this prize on African soil.
Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra’s CEO Louis Heyneman summed up the exceptional experience in notes of joy:
“Everyone in this competition are winners. Hearing such talent at the beginning of their careers and being part of these young singers’ journey is always exciting, and the Operalia was no exception.
“We are, of course, particularly proud, and happy that we had two South African finalists. This shows that some of the best voices in the new generation of opera singers come from this southern tip of Africa, which is seen as a nursery for rising voices and musicians.”
Complete Prize Winners
Female Voice: Juliet Roset, soprano, France
Male Voice: Stephano Park, bass, South Korea
Female Voice: Eugénie Joneau, mezzo-sporano, France
Male Voice: Luke Sutliff, baritone, USA
Female Voice: Elena Villalón, soprano, USA
Male Voice: Navasard Hakobyan, baritone, Armenia