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SCENE IT: Cape Town Opera's beautiful SONGS OF SHAKESPEARE not to be missed at Maynardville

Barbara Loots


Another beautiful night at Maynardville, courtesy of the Cape Town Opera. We were delighted with the sounds of the SONGS OF SHAKESPEARE, where the Bard steps into the operatic realm with impressive ease and beauty.

Four performances by the Cape Town Opera form part of this year’s Maynardville Festival. We were privileged to experience the SONGS OF SHAKESPEARE on 26 January 2023, but the renowned opera company is also mixing things up with performances of SPIRITUALS (a programme of religious and sacred music with which they toured Europe in 2018 and 2019). With the operatic component of this year’s Maynardville, variety is then definitely the spice of life, and it makes for all the more reason to visit the theatre festival more than once.

For SONGS OF SHAKESPEARE, musical director José Dias and Cape Town Opera's exquisite soloists, Brittany Smith, Lukhanyo Moyake, and Conroy Scott, are joined by CTP’s Judith Neilson Young Artists, Alida Scheepers, and Van Wyk Ventre. Together they take the audience on a tour of Shakespeare's influence as revealed through a different lens, an operatic, and even a musical, one. They invite you to see how the Bard’s work transcends different forms of theatre, as is evident from the inspiration he provided to composers such as Verdi and Gounod. The dramatic and romantic thread of the Bard’s stories run through so many musical adaptations, which this troupe beautifully and emotively explores, all the way through to the lighter toe-tapping and heart-thumping sensations such as ‘Tonight’ from West Side Story and ‘Too Darn Hot’ from Kiss Me Kate.

The music showcased is brilliantly curated and directed by Dias, who accompanies on piano, giving the audience a taste of all things Shakespeare from the fairy appeal of A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the yearning of Romeo and Juliet, as well as the heartbreak of Othello, while even delving into the betrayal of that Scottish play.

The performances will leave you with goosebumps, while you hear your fellow patrons happily sighing, as the beautiful vocals envelop all in lovely Maynardville, as the wind lightly rustles through the trees for that added touch of magic.

SONGS OF SHAKESPEARE, featuring music from Purcell to Porter, is a must-see on this year’s VR Theatrical presented Maynardville menu. You only have one more opportunity to let this magical offering take you on a Bard-inspired operatic adventure, and that is Saturday, 28 January 2023. However, if you miss out on this delight, and you still need to get your Cape Town Opera fix, you can still catch SPIRITUALS on Sunday, 29 January 2023. Tickets for both these performances are available online through Quicket.


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