What would a Mozart Festival be without any Mozart on the programme? This year, the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is partnering with Salon Music and Brooklyn Theatre for their presentation of Don Giovanni at the Brooklyn Theatre in Pretoria. Orchestration for a sextet (including two pianos) is by Willem Vogel. The title role will be sung by Raimondo Viviano van Staden, with the Il Commendatore being sung by Dirk Venter. Donna Anna is Ilze Coetzee. Don Ottavio is Arthur Swan. Donna Elvira is Linelle Wimbles Engelbrecht. Leporello is sung by Thabang Senekal. Zerlina is Dierdre van Schalkwyk and Masetto is Lourens de Jager. This opens on the 18th January with subsequent performances on 2o, 22, 25, 27 and 29 January at the Brooklyn Theatre. This will be conducted by Jaco van Staden and directed by Sandra Laubscher. Booking for this is at http://www.brooklyntheatre.co.za or 012 460 6033. Prices from R100 for scholars to R330 for adults.
There is also a performance of Don Giovanni at the Nirox Sculpture Park, Kromdraai in the Cradle of Humankind on Saturday 28 January at 15:00. This will be an outdoor performance. Blankets and canvas chairs welcome. Food and drink not permitted (there will be catering provided at your own cost by selected market suppliers including delicious vegan options from Leafy Greens, meat options from Che, an Argentinian Grill place and paella for fish lovers. Chacuterie and cheese platters will also be available. The will also be a Champagne and MCC bar, a craft beer bar and a vending point for iced teas. Tickets for this performance (excluding food and drinks) are R300 each. The Nirox Sculpture Park performance is not officially part of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival. The Park will be open from 13:00 for people to explore the Park and rest and relax before the performance starts. The Nirox Sculpture Park has a series of six or seven concerts in a wide variety of genres each year which will include a Valentine Blues concert, roots music, a Bob Dylan tribute, a guitar concert, a jazz concert and another classical concert. Their website is http://www.niroxarts.com. The Nirox Sculpture Park is usually closed to the public so the only time one can see the place is when one books for a concert or for their annual winter Sculpture Fair.
The other opera is about as different from Don Giovanni as it is possible. to be. Bongani Ndodana-Breen, a past composer-in-residence of the Johannesburg International Mozart Festival is presenting a new South African opera, A Sea Point Story. This is based on Nicohas Spagnoleti’s award winning play, London Road. It bis a story of maids and madams with both pathos and humour worked into it. It is the Mozart Anniversary Concert on 27 January, and will be performed at Wits Theatre at 20:00. It will have a repeat performance at 15:00 on Sunday 29 January, 2017. Zandile Mzazi and Amanda Osorio are the two protagonists (both soprano roles). They will be accompnied by members of the Johannesburg Festival Overture. This is something unique and promises to touch the hearts of every South African who has ever been on (or observed) either side of the “maid and madam” issue. Ndodana-Breen was the composer of the acclaimed Winnie: The Opera as well as many other works. His work is both Afrocentric and very accessible to lovers of western classical music.
Booking for A Sea Point Story and other Johannesburg International Mozart Festival Concerts can be done on the Computicket website. For more information go to http://www.join-mozart-festival.org.