Cape Town Opera will bring their acclaimed production of The Gershwins' PORGY AND BESS to Birmingham Hippodrome for the first time, opening during Jubilee Bank Holiday week from Wednesday 6 – Saturday 9 June. The dates mark the first performances of their forthcoming UK tour prior to a two week run in London.
Relocated to the depression-ravaged townships of 1970's Soweto, Cape Town Opera have made Gershwin's classic their own, as the search for hope and happiness, amidst poverty and hardship, unfolds in a poignant tale of love and deprivation.
PORGY AND BESS is one of the great icons of American music theatre, known around the world as 'the peoples' opera'. Written in 1935 and originally portraying the 1920s life of America's Deep South, this compelling work contains some of the most stirring and ever-lasting songs including "Summertime", "I got plenty of nuttin'", "It ain't necessarily so", and "I loves you Porgy".
Cape Town Opera (CTO) is the largest performing arts company in South Africa. Since its establishment in 1999, the company has been committed to the continued performance and development of opera, operetta and musical theatre in South Africa. CTO focuses on performance excellence, audience development and innovation, with the overall goal of increasing the relevance of opera as a performing art form in South Africa. In order to realise this goal, the company's main objectives are maintaining a full and varied artistic programme of world-class standard, undertaking the training and development of young South African artists and opera practitioners and increasing access to, and appreciation of, opera among the general public in South Africa.
PORGY AND BESS casting includes Tsakane Maswanganyi, Sibongile Mngoma and Nonhlanhla Yende who will share the role of Bess. Xolela Sixaba will alternate with Kaiser Nkosi and Otto Maidi as Porgy. The cast also includes Mandisinde Mbuyazwe, Philisa Sibeko, Nozuko Teto, Nkosazana Dimande, Arline Jaftha, Victor Ryan Robertson, Tshepo Moagi, Miranda Tini, Gloria Bosman, Aubrey Lodewyk and Owen Metsileng.
After curtain down on Friday 8 and Saturday 9 June there will be bucket collections in the foyer for The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund (UK).
One of Nelson Mandela's first actions on becoming President of the newly democratic South Africa in 1994 was to establish the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund. He committed one third of his Presidential salary for five years to ensure the continuation of the Fund as his charitable legacy for children.
The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund UK is a registered charity in the UK whose main purpose is to fundraise for and publicise the work of the Nelson Mandela Children's Fund in South Africa. They also work with schools throughout the UK as part of their advocacy and citizenship programme. They work closely with local communities to develop creative and long lasting responses to the challenges that they face on a daily basis.
Rachel Ward, Head of Fundraising for NMCF UK said: "The Nelson Mandela Children's Fund are delighted to be supporting the Cape Town Opera's production of Porgy and Bess. The relocation of the action to the townships of South Africa connects strongly with the work of NMCF and the talent and energy of the cast embodies the hopes we have for the children and young people we help. We really appreciate the chance to raise much needed funds for our work through collections at the end of performances."
PORGY AND BESS performed by Cape Town Opera runs from Wednesday 6 – Saturday 9 June.
Tickets are priced from £15 - £60 and can be booked online at www.birminghamhippodrome.com or by calling 0844 338 5000 (calls vary from 5p per minutes, 5% transaction charge.) Performance times: Eves 7.30pm; Sat mat: 2pm.