Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Sheldonian and the Cape Town Opera

A wonderful concert last night at the Sheldonian with the Cape Town Opera. I got to the venue soon after 2pm to take background shots - and some to augment assignment 3 - as well as rehearsal shots and of the event in general.
His Excellency Dr. Zola Skweyiya High Commissioner for Republic South Africa
The CTO have a wonderful sound and I may try and get to a performance of either "Mandela Trilogy" or "Porgy and Bess" on their current UK tour and this event at the Sheldonian had a reasonably high profile and the performance was addressed initially by the High commissioner for the RSA (he was brought onto the floor for a dance by one of the troupe towards the end of the evening!).

This concert was sponsored by the Lord's Taverners and underwritten by Underwoods Solicitors with whom I worked on this. Underwoods were happy for me to take any images I liked, they had agreed with the Sheldonian that I could roam wherever I wanted, but could I take some images of the guests and their associated activities on the day. This post deals with the shots that surround the performance and the Sheldonian.

The weather yesterday was wet. The (now) typical June weather had probably dampened enthusiasm for "passing trade" coming to the concert and the numbers in attendance seemed a little low to me. I was able to get to the "gods"the upper seats and take the perspective from as high as possible from both ends. Because there was a performance the Sheldonian brought in their volunteer "force" of stewards and I certainly detected a tension between the Sheldonian staff and the event organisers, but if I did the event wasn't marred by it and the evening went extremely well. I have some other detail shots which I may include later such as the crest above

The Performers:

I joined the performers rehearsal as they were warming up - I haven't been "amongst" an Opera troupe before, and certainly not whilst they warmed up. They occupied the bulk of the available floor as they went through their vocal exercises and many of them were doubly occupied, some reading the event programme, some looking at mobile 'phones, some doing both. The sound was one of complete harmony and a number of people, including me, applauded throughout the rehearsal (not the warm-up exercises, I hasten to add).

After the warm up they rehearsed some of the chorus' and arias to be performed later in the day - they concentrated on the "choreography" of both the music and their positions. I have tried to gain a perception of both the joy - which was amply in evidence - and their movement - this wasn't a sacramentally rigid choral ensemble, they employed supreme vocal virtuosity coupled with a real sense of joy with the voice.


  1. I looked at them on the page and then in the slideshow version which actually gives a good impression of flow and the energy of the rehearsal. Felt as if I should be listening to the music as well!

  2. Thanks Catherine, I think seeing them large - as in the slideshow - works much better. These people really know how to have a good time but the discipline of performance was very strong, I felt very fortunate to be amongst them even for such a short time.

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