Cape Town Opera's Thando Zwane Wins Prestigious Award!
Photo Cred: Supplied

Thando Zwane, a graduate of Cape Town Opera’s Judith Neilson Young Artists Programme, won the Audience Prize and an engagement with the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden at the prestigious 42nd International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition in Latvia.

 

Global (16 June 2024) – The Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition is renowned as a pivotal launching pad for opera singers worldwide. With its impressive history and status, this competition attracts nearly a thousand young opera talents each year. Entrants undergo rigorous qualifying rounds in over 50 cities globally, judged by an esteemed panel from the world’s top opera houses, including the Metropolitan Opera in New York and the Royal Opera House in London.

This grand stage has now celebrated the triumph of a rising star from Africa.

Thando Zwane, a 32-year-old baritone, has emerged victorious, capturing the Audience Prize at the 42nd International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition held in Jurmala, Latvia. A 2019 graduate of Cape Town Opera’s Judith Neilson Young Artists Programme (JNYAP), Zwane not only won a €2,000 (R39,370) prize but also secured an engagement with the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden in Germany. And his journey to this remarkable achievement is nothing short of inspiring.

Hailing from Eswatini, Zwane’s passion for opera was cultivated and refined through the comprehensive training he received at Cape Town Opera. The Judith Neilson Young Artists Programme is renowned for its dedication to nurturing postgraduate singers, pianists, and conductors, equipping them with the skills necessary for a professional career. Participants benefit from a blend of formal tuition, hands-on rehearsal experience, and stage performances alongside seasoned artists. This holistic approach ensures that graduates are not only technically proficient but also artistically mature.

Reflecting on his victory, Zwane expressed his joy and gratitude, saying, “I feel so happy and honoured to have bowed out of the competition in such a memorable way. From my first performance here, I felt a sense of belonging and the audience seemed to love me throughout all the rounds. Winning the Audience Prize and the Wiesbaden contract was indeed the cherry on top. I am looking forward to many more exciting engagements in the future!”

Alex Gabriel, Managing Director of Cape Town Opera, expressed pride in Zwane’s achievements, stating, “The singing talent in Africa and South Africa is incredible and Cape Town Opera is honoured to have played a part in Thando’s journey to international acclaim – we wish him all the very best in this next chapter of his burgeoning career.”

Two South Africans competed alongside Zwane, namely Lwazi Dlamini, who graduated in March 2024 from the Judith Neilson Young Artists Programme, and tenor Vuyisa Xipu from OperaUCT. Mezzo soprano Julia Portela Piñón who is currently based in Cape Town and in the JNYAP, competed for Spain.

Cape Town Opera continues to foster exceptional talent, and their impact on the global opera scene is undeniable. Their upcoming full-length opera, opening on Friday 14 June at Artscape, promises to be another showcase of the remarkable talent nurtured within their ranks. With booking available through Webtickets, it’s an opportunity not to be missed.


Sources: Cape Town Opera
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