The show will feature soloist soprano Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha
By CityLife Arts Writer
Following a spectacular inaugural national tour in 2022, the stage is set to celebrate the highly anticipated second national tour of Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, which is scheduled to run in Women’s Month from August 10 to August 14, 2023.
The tour will be led by Marin Alsop, the first woman conductor to serve as the head of a major orchestra in the US, UK, South America and Austria with soloist Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, the award-winning Limpopo-born soprano who is the current BBC Radio 3 New Generation artist, winner of the Cardiff Singer of the World, and Daily Maverick’s Artist of the Year runner up for 2022.
The August dates follow the acclaimed orchestra’s three-city inaugural tour which played to sold-out houses in Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town in December 2022.
This year’s itinerary will see Mzansi Philharmonic performing in Johannesburg on Thursday, August 10 at the Linder Auditorium at 19h30pm; in Cape Town on Saturday, August 12 at the Cape Town City Hall at 19h30pm and in Gqeberha on Monday, August 14 at the Feather Market Centre at 18h30pm.
Bongani Tembe, Chief Executive and Artistic Director of the Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra, says: “Our audiences will be delighted to hear that Marin Alsop will return for this year’s tour, following her sensational appearances last year. We are thrilled that the highly accomplished South African dramatic soprano, Masabane Cecilia Rangwanasha, will be our soloist for 2023; Cecilia has a special talent coupled with a warm heart and personality.”
The repertoire to be performed in all three centres includes an operatic first half, featuring beautiful and dramatic arias followed, after the intermission, by Mahler’s monumental Symphony No. 5.
Says Alsop: “Following our successful tour last year, I’m very excited to return to South Africa, a country rich in culture and heritage. It is a joy to work with musicians who are committed to excellence and to perform for enthusiastic audiences from diverse backgrounds. This is a country which demonstrates music’s unique power to bring people together, and I love the way Mzansi Philharmonic embodies this quality.”
The Mzansi Philharmonic was launched in 2022, as part of an initiative of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture to broaden the orchestral experience of the country, transform the orchestral sector and to brand South Africa positively around the world. The Orchestra consists of up to 110 non-permanent musicians who are drawn from regional orchestras, universities, and freelance musicians.
“We are excited to celebrate Women’s Month in South Africa with this national tour. The Mzansi Philharmonic is rapidly earning a reputation for its diversity on every level: our programmes feature artists and musicians who are representative of our rainbow nation, showing music’s unique ability to bring people together across gender, age, race and class,” said the Mzansi Philharmonic’s Chairperson, Justice Leona Theron.
Justice Theron added: “I am particularly pleased that Mzansi National Philharmonic Orchestra is achieving its mission of broadening the orchestral experience of South Africa, supporting established and emerging orchestras in many parts of the country, including the Eastern Cape, Free State, Northern Cape, Mpumalanga and North West.”