Music students shine in International Opera online singing competition

Read time: 2 mins

Five students from the UFH Music Department recently showcased their operatic talents during the Voices of South Africa International Opera (VOSA) online competition.

Established in 2015 by London based South African Baritone Opera singer Njabulo Madlala, the competition creates a platform for young and up-coming opera singers to take part in the international opera stage as professional soloists.

Owing to  Covid-19  lockdown regulations, Mr Madlala came up with the idea of hosting the competition online.

From the beginning of July, singers were required to submit a one-minute video clip for auditions. The clips were divided into different voice categories such as:  Tenors, Sopranos, Altos and Baritones.  From the clips, 15 finalists were selected weekly in each category. The finalists then proceed to battle it out live on Facebook every Sunday. Judges for each week varied and comprised internationally acclaimed opera maestros such Sibongile Khumalo, Andrew Staples, Marsha Thompson and many more.

The UFH Bachelor of Music students who managed to advance to the final stage of the competition are as follows:

Chwayita Mdlankomo, 1st year student who specialises in Classical Singing was a finalist in the Mezzo Sopranos category.

Olwethu Nomangola, 1st year student made it to the top 15 in the Tenor category.

Ongezwa Mkhula, 3rd year student sang her way to the top 15 in the Female category.

Sazi Gcaba, impressed the judges with his performance. The 2nd year student secured himself the 3rd spot  in the Male category.

Sinethemba Sonanze, who is doing his 3rd year entered the  South African Composers’ category and his song was selected and performed in the final round of the competition.

Mr Thamsanqa Ncokwana, Deputy HOD, Voice Lecturer and Opera Specialist in the Music Department played an integral role in getting his students into the competition.  As an opera singer who has travelled and performed in various stages, Mr Ncokwana liaised with the organisers and pave way for his students.

 “I felt my students deserve such an opportunity to showcase their golden voices. I  want  my students to experience the international stage,  to be exposed to international opera agents, opera houses and international opera music schools and colleges”,  said an elated  Ncokwana.

“I have a dream of developing this division into an Opera School and UFH being an Opera Music hub for the Eastern Cape,” he said,