|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 competition, held every second year, is part of the Arena di Verona Festival in Italy. Ngqungwana, a bass-baritone, won for his role as Ping, tenor Dladla for Pong, and Lalapantsi for Pang in the Puccini opera Turandot. The three roles form crucial links between the three acts in the piece.
"For us Zulu and Xhosa speakers, to sing in a foreign language (Italian), in front of its people (Italians) and excel was phenomenal," said Ngqungwana, who is in the final year of his undergraduate degree.
The triumph has given them more confidence in their careers, opened chances to perform on the international stage and has given them networking opportunities.
"The win was very important for its 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 that after winning the auditions in November, they were forced to cut short their summer holidays and spend 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 other upcoming local and international auditions, and plough back their expertise into the community.
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