Theo Magongoma, a South African dramatic baritone, won the prestigious 2023 Elizabeth Greenfield Award for his contribution to opera.
South Africa (17 November 2023) – Theo Magongoma has made South Africa proud by being named the winner of the prestigious 2023 Elizabeth Greenfield Award. A total of 77 successful applicants from 9 different countries entered.
Born in Alexandra, Johannesburg Theo was raised in the rural township of Ezibeleni in the Transkei. He furthered his education at the South African College of Music, UCT, in Cape Town, where he obtained a performer’s diploma and a BMus Honours degree. He is currently finishing his Master’s degree in Music Performance at Stellenbosch University and is busy with the last part of his degree, his dissertation, while he works as a freelance opera singer in South Africa and abroad.
Held annually, this award honours a trail-blazing Black singer by recognising an outstanding present-day Black singer in the early stages of their international professional operatic career.
The James Toland Vocal Arts Diversity and Inclusion Committee in the USA developed the Elizabeth Greenfield Award. Each year it features an outstanding present-day Black singer in the early stages of their international professional operatic career.
This year that winner is Theo Magongoma. Theo didn’t only win this award, he also won several voice competitions including the 2022 Spazio Musica International Opera Competition in Orvieto, Italy; the 2022/2023 Vienna New Year’s International Music Competition from the City of Vienna; the 2023 Lugarno International Music Competition.
His career has been a busy one so far. He has performed as a soloist with South African orchestras, for Cape Town Opera, for Touring Opera Companies and at Art Festivals around the world. He has worked on operatic productions internationally in the USA, UK, Italy, Germany, France, Ireland, The Netherlands, Singapore and Japan.
This win will see Theo take on more exciting roles, including the Vienna Summer Music Festival as well as performing the role of Renato from Verdi’s Un Ballo In Maschera at the Teatro Mancinelli, Italy.
Theo credits the renowned South African vocal coach Ean Smit for his invaluable contribution towards his operatic development. Theo also values the support of his long-time accompanist, the South African pianist Danie Fourie.
Well done, Theo!