"I'm here to build on what I've already been impressed with," Kamal Khan, the new director of UCT's Opera School.
Khan has taken over from Professsor Angelo Gobbato, who retired in 2008, and is already at work planning the school's future events, such as the Kaleidoscope concerts, which take place from 1 to 6 June. He is no stranger to UCT, having served as guest conductor in collaboration with Cape Town Opera for several years.
Originally from the US, Khan studied at the Manhattan School of Music and worked with the Metropolitan Opera in New York for a decade. His work took him all over the world, from South America to Europe, before he took up his new post at UCT.
"I've seen some very fine singing and performing," he says, "but there also needs to be an emphasis on structure and quick thinking."
He stresses the importance of singers communicating with modern composers, where possible.
There are plans to premiere the works of modern composers in 2010. He hopes that future projects like these will give young singers the experience in agility and flexibility they need to sing professionally on any stage in the world.
Khan acknowledges that the local demand for opera singers is limited, so he aims to develop young singers who meet international standards.
"But there's still untold potential for local growth," he notes. "We haven't even begun to tap the market."
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