“Sweeter than Roses” 15/2/2013 – Résumés of the performers
Nomsa Mpofu was born 21 years ago in Cape Town and started singing in choral eisteddfod competitions with the Luhlaza high school choir, based in Khayelitsha. She’s a 4th year student studying at the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town studying with Patrick Tikolo. She has participated as a chorus member at the University in several productions that include L’elisir d’Amore ,Cunning little Vixen, Le Nozze di Figaro, Il Viaggio a Reims, La Boheme and Die Entführung aus dem Serail. She also participated in the extracts of Handel’s Opera Rinaldo as Almirena and in Die Zauberflote (The Magic Flute) as a first lady in the Opera Kaleidoscope. She was awarded 1st prize at the tertiary competition (SATICA) and performed in Youth Music Festival 2012 with Cape Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Arjan Tien. She has performed her debut the role of Fiordiligi in the production of “Cosi fan Tutte” production of UCT\Cape Town Opera. Earlier this year she was one of the finalists of the South African National Opera Singing Competition in the Amazwi Omanzi Arts Festival. She will take the role of Donna Anna in Mozart’s “Don Giovanni” performing it in the Darling Opera Company.
Louise Howlett (Soprano)
Louise Howlett, originally from England, studied at the Royal College of Music in London with Margaret Cable where she featured in a number of competitions and masterclasses. As a member of the National Youth Music Theatre, Louise toured to the Bergen Festival and Edinburgh Main and Fringe Festivals, as well as performing in the award winning production of The Ragged Child at the Sadlers Wells Theatre, London. She performed in television productions of both The Ragged Child and the opera of The Tailor of Gloucester.
Louise came to South Africa in 1993 to work as Organiser for the National Chamber Orchestra in the North West Province and soon decided to make South Africa her home. She sang on many occasions with the NCO including a number of corporate functions in Sun City and Johannesburg. She also performed in a number of Oratoria including the Nelson Mass by Haydn, The Messiah by Handel, Vivaldi’s Gloria, and was involved in choral training workshops and master classes.
In March 1999 she moved to Cape Town where she is now based. Her Cape Town debut took place with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at their Kirstenbosch Millennium Concert, but her love of jazz and the musicals led her to create her own unique combination of classical, broadway and jazz “Across the Styles” singing projects which she regularly performs with pianist Albert Combrink. Performances include such varied events as the Kirstenbosch Classical Chamber Music Series and Big Blues Festival with sold out shows at the Baxter Theatre and the Greyton Rose Festival.
Future plans include further performances at the Baxter Theatre and for the Endler Concert Series. They have also released their first CD “Night Sessions”, generously filled with timeless gems, recorded and produced by Duncan Mackay at Down South Recording.
A keen promoter of classical music in Cape Town, Louise is the General Manager of the Cape Town Concert Series, and is a regular presenter on Fine Music Radio. Her programme “For the Love of Opera” features all the latest news and reviews of opera around the world today.
Born in Kimberley, Thesele sang in his first solo in Std.2, ending school as the winner of the Northern Cape Provincial region of the Tirisano National Choir Competition in 2004. As member of the National Youth Choir, he took part in the World Choir Olympics in Bremen. In 2006 he joined the UCT Opera School where he is a student of Prof. Virginia Davids. He has taken part in productions by Cape Town Opera and the UCT Opera School.
Operatic roles include: the Forester in Janacek’s “Cunning Little Vixen” directed by Joshua Major, Don Prudenzio in Rossini’s “Il Viaggio a Reims” directed by Matthew Wild, Figaro in UCT Opera School’s production of Mozart’s “Le Nozze di Figaro”, Colline in Puccini’s “La Boheme”, directed by Prof Angelo Gobbato and the role of Nick Shadow from Stravinski’s “The Rakes Progress.” Recitals include the Songmaker’s Guild and the South African Wagner Society and Oratorios such as John Stainer’s Crucifiction.
He also made a tremendous impact when he sang – for the second year – the very demanding music for the Jewish High Holidays Yom Kipur and Kol Nidrei at Temple Israel Synagogue in Greenpoint, where his musicality and superb handling of Hebrew was complimented by all. He was also part of the Oude Libertas cast of Jaco Bouwer’s award-winning stage-production ” ‘n Ander Tongval“, with music by Braam du Toit, based on the book by Antjie Krog.
In 2012 Thesele traveled to the USA to take part in the Glimmerglass festival as a young artist, doing the cover roles of Hidraot in “Armide”, the King in “Aida” and Johannes Phafuri in Weil’s “Lost in the stars” and later in the year in the Opera “Tales of Hoffman” he played Lindorf and Dr Miracle.
Albert Combrink (Musical Director and Pianist)
Albert is a Freelance Pianist working in a variety of genres: classical pianist, instrumental accompanist, musicals, Opera and Jazz. Since graduating with a Master’s Degree in Classical Piano Performance and completing Cum Lauda Licentiates in Accompaniment, Teaching and Performing, he has distinguished himself in various fields, both locally and abroad. Performances at the Leipzig Gewandhaus and Singapore are recent highlights. His operatic interests took him to the UCT Opera School, Cape Town Opera and the Isango Partabello company which won a London Critics’ Award for Mozart’s “Magic Flute”. He has performed regularly on television, for Kyknet, Ontbytsake, SABC 3′s Expresso. He appeared on SABC 3′s Top Billing accompanying the international cross-over Superstar Catherine Jenkins and local celebrity Diva Lynelle Kenned. He was Music Director of the 2012 ”Dance for a Cure”, which raises awareness and funds for Cervical Cancer Inoculations. He is co-author of 3 Arts & Culture Textbooks which have sold over 100 000 copies. His many CD projects have garnered acclaim, including a SAMA Nomination as Best Instrumental Album and a review in the International Gramophone magazine. His discs include, 3 with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, 2 with the Cape Town Tango Ensemble, as well as a Piano/Vocal Album with songbird Louise Howlett.