Opera students conquer the world

20 February 2009 | Story by Myolisi Gophe

Opera students
The winning team: Opera students Musawenkosi Ngqungwana, Mlamli Lalapantsi and Sunnyboy Dladla, won the international Turandot Competition in January.

UCT opera students Musawenkosi Ngqungwana, Mlamli Lalapantsi and Sunnyboy Dladla have won the prestigious and tightly-contested international Turandot Competition.

The biannual competition is part of the Arena di Verona Festival in Italy, and Ngqungwana, a bass-baritone, won for his role as Ping, tenor Dladla for Pong, and Lalapantsi for Pang.

"For us Zulu and Xhosa speakers, to sing in a foreign language (Italian), infront of its people (Italians) and excel was phenomenal," said Ngqungwana, who is in his final year of his undergraduate degree.

The triumph has given them more confidence in their career, opened chances to perform at the international stage and gave them networking opportunities.

"The win was very important as a sentimental value," added Dladla, a postgraduate final year student.

The competition is organised by the International Institute for Opera and Poetry in collaboration with the Fondazione Arena di Verona and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation.

Music Is A Great Investment is a South African partner.

Lalapantsi, also in his final postgraduate year, said after winning the auditions in November, they were forced to cut short their summer holidays and spent December learning the music. And it was worth the while.

"The first round (semi-final) of the competition was very tough but we managed to pull through," Lalapantsi explained.

The three intend to finish their studies, contest for other coming local and international auditions, and plough back their expertise to the community.

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