Thesis: Metamorphosis of Opera in South Africa

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¶ … metamorphosis of Opera in South Africa. We also present the metamorphosis of opera in other parts of the world in order to contrast the transformation with the one observed in South Africa. In out analysis we discuss how the Apartheid era created barriers for black South Africans in Opera production. The barriers of different languages are also explored in the context of Opera in South Africa. We explore the post-apartheid changes in Opera in South Africa as well as how Carmen translations overcame the various language barriers in South Africa. The Impact of Operas like Princess Magogo, Winnie Mandela, and U-Carmen Ekhayalitsha on the general perception, popularity as well as growth of Opera in South Africa is also explored.

Contents

Abstract

Introduction

Opera in South Africa

The metamorphosis of Opera in South Africa

Challenges and opportunities in the creation of the South African opera

The origin and diffusion of opera in the major part of the world

Opera in theaters

Opera and enlightenment

The rise of opera in the nineteenth century

Opera espouses the kinship arts

How the Apartheid era created barriers for black South Africans in Opera production

Language barriers in translating opera: A cost of being lost in translation

The post-apartheid changes in Opera in South Africa as well as how Carmen translations overcame the various language barriers in South Africa

The Impact of Operas like Princess Magogo, Winnie Mandela, and U-Carmen Ekhayalitsha on the general perception, popularity as well as growth of Opera in South Africa.

Conclusion

References

Introduction

Opera is basically defined as a form of art in which singers as well as musicians perform in dramatic piece that combines text (libretto) with musical scores. Holden et al. (1994) described opera as any dramatic piece that can be sung (may be spoken or declaimed at times) in a certain place for performance that is chosen for the singers (in costumes) using the original music as well as instrumentalists. Opera incorporates various elements of the spoken theatre which include acting, costumes, scenery and in certain cases, dance. This performance is usually executed in an opera house with orchestra and a musical ensemble as an accomplishment. The concept of Opera as mentioned earlier, originated from Italy towards the end of the sixteenth century with the production of Dafne by Jacopo Peri. Dafne is regarded as earliest known work of art which by modern standards qualify to be considered as an opera (Sonneck,1913). The work was composed in 1597 by Jacopo Peri with Ottavio Rinuccini as the libretto.Later on, it spread to the rest of Europe. In the 17th century opera established itself as a national tradition in Germany (Schutz),France (Lully) and England (Purcell). 18th century saw opera continue dominating most parts of Europe other than France. The most renowned figure of that period is Mozart who started with opera siria but gained much fame from his comic opera which were Italian. Some of Mozart's famous pieces are; the marriage of Figaro, the Magic Flute, Don Giovanni and Cosi fan tutte. Then came the 19th century which saw the emergence of the bel canto style. This period produced renowned artists like Rossini, Bellini and Donizetti whose works are still being performed in our contemporary theatre. In this paper we explore the metamorphosis of opera in South Africa as well as the dynamics that have played integral roles in the transformation.

Research Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research is to explore the metamorphosis of Opera in South Africa.

Objectives

The objectives of this paper are to investigate;

The effects of Apartheid on Opera in South Africa (how did Apartheid create barriers for black South Africans in Opera)

The barriers of different languages in Opera in general and the barriers of different languages in Opera in South Africa

The post-apartheid changes in Opera in South Africa

How Carmen translations overcame the language barriers in South Africa

The impact Opera's like Princess Magogo, Winnie Mandela, and U-Carmen Ekhayalitsha has on the general perception, popularety and growth of Opera in South Africa

Literature review

Not much literature has been dedicated to the study of the metamorphosis of opera in South Africa. Some of the existing literature have discussed the transformation of opera in South Africa (De Jager,2009).The work of De Jager (2009) traced the various forms of transformation of opera production and performance from the apartheid period up to the post-apartheid period. The work looks at the changes in funding as well as other policy issues in the running of opera house in South Africa. The gap in this research is the lack of literature on the specific impact of the various operas like Princess Magogo, Winnie Mandela, and U-Carmen Ekhayalitsha has on the general perception, popularety and growth of Opera in South Africa.

Roos (2010) on the other hand investigated the 'indigenization ' of opera in South Africa over the years. According to him, the transformation of opera from the days of the apartheid government to the post-apartheid era has taken a great deal of effort, determination and struggle.The metamorphosis of opera in South Africa gained momentum in the post apartheid era (De Jager,2009).Initially Opera was the preserve of the white South Africans and did not elicit much interest among the Black South Africans. What this translated to was a lack of participation in opera production, roles as well as viewership. The South African Opera has undergone tremendous transformations since the arrival of the country's long awaited adoption of the new dispensation that changed both the landscape as well as frame of reference within which the creative art industries functioned (De Jager,2009).Recently (2009) Pretty Yende a young South African opera singer took home major prizes at the International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition which was held in Australia.During the apartheid era opera was a reserve of the high and mighty and it was not entrenched within the native black South African. James and Davey (2010) argue that U- Carmen Ekhayelitsha won the Best Film at the Golden Bear Award and was the sole African production at the prestigious event.A look at the contemporary South African Opera scene reveals that a lot of changes have taken place over the years. A seminal review of literature also suggests that the transformation of opera from the days of the apartheid government to the post-apartheid era has taken a great deal of effort, determination and struggle. The political reforms in the South African landscape marked a turning point in the metamorphosis of opera in South Africa (Roos,2010). Since the years when the four Performing Arts Councils (PACs), that is, Performing Arts Councils (PACs),CAPAB, NAPAC and CAPAB, a lot of changes have been seen in the South African Opera scene. For instance, the four Performing Arts Councils (PACs) were a creation of the South African Apartheid government and they were mandated with the production of opera in South African from 1963 up to 1998 (Roos,2010,p.192).It is worth noting that during the periods when the four Performing Arts Councils were active under the apartheid regime, the production of opera was mainly geared towards the emulation of the Western aesthetics as well as cultural models with as much perfection as possible. The apartheid government officials were however not very much interested in opera production to a large degree. Pooley (2008,p.18) explored the value of art music such as opera for the Apartheid government as an element that carried some sort of a 'symbolic capital'. The art music was a symbol of the European culture since it was regarded to be of greater value that the local and indigenous art (Roos, 2010).It is worth noting that the metamorphosis of opera in South Africa to become South African Opera (Indigenous opera) is a process that took so long and has so much rich history that can fully be understood by a rigorous study of Roos' (2010) work. The transformation that has been observed is in regard to the 'indigenization 'of the previously Western art to become South African Art which is performed not in a foreign dialect but in Xhosa, the indigenous language. Previously, in the apartheid era, the political ideologies and structures that formed the foundation of South Africa's cultural policy were never conducive for the thorough exploration of the region's indigenous cultures in the process of producing opera. Any other cultural explorations in art production were never encouraged as well. It is however the unfair policies of the Apartheid government that gave rise to several cultural boycotts by the entire international community that gave rise to the isolation of indigenous arts production (Roos,2010,p. 52).In the mid-1980s, therefore, the opera in South Africa was both cut off from the international response and isolated from its very own creative outcomes that are of its own environment. It is therefore important to note that the trends in the production of opera will always be changing. The socio-political upheavals in the country in the last few decades has lead to several unforeseen and rather specific effects on opera production in… [END OF PREVIEW]

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