As Africa’s premier opera company and one of South Africa’s largest permanent non-profit performing arts organisation. The company maintains an energetic touring schedule that includes Porgy and Bess, African Angels, Mandela Trilogy, African Prophetess and Showboat. In this way, the CTO serves as a vibrant cultural ambassador showcasing South Africa’s unique singing talent to the rest of the world.

The organisation provides unmatched skills development and hands on training to young artists from across the country. CTO’s Youth Development and Education department provides valuable musical training, free of charge, to more than 2 000 learners in rural and township communities each year.

When young singers come to Cape Town Opera, they come from all parts of South Africa, such as:

Soprano Brittany Smith was first introduced to opera in her tenth year of schooling, her determination and commitment to pursuing a career in opera have seen her through challenges, enabling her to respond to an ever increasing number of opportunities.  Brittany Smith now proudly holds a BMus degree in Opera and her many awards include the 2013 Ruth Ormond Prize for the Most Promising First Year UCT Female Opera Student , the 2016 Schock Foundation Opera Competition in the Female Classical Section, and nominations for the Fleur du Cap Awards in 2017 and 2019.

Tenor Sipho Fubesi’s opera journey has taken him from the dusty streets in South Africa’s Eastern Cape province where it was expected of him to find a ‘normal job’ once he completed schooling and care for his parents and siblings, to not only working in and seeing the rest of his country but also to living in parts of Europe as a student and later professional singer.  Sipho has won the Frederic Cox Award, the Elizabeth Harwood Memorial Prize and the Wessex Glyndebourne Association Award in 2012.  He sang Donizetti’s aria ‘Una furtiva lagrima’ from L’elisir d’amore for the soundtrack of the film The Deal (2008).

Not for nothing is Cape Town Opera’s Chorus regarded as the jewel in the company’s crown: this is attested by the ensemble’s being named “Chorus of the Year” by the 2013 International Opera Awards; by spontaneous accolades from the likes of Placido Domingo (when he heard them perform in Madrid in 2015 in Porgy and Bess), eulogies from Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and William Kentridge, and high praise from successive guest conductors and directors visiting this country to assist in staging CTO productions.  Under the tutelage of Chorus Master Marvin Kernelle, the Cape Town Opera Chorus performs an extensive repertoire in various genres from opera and traditional hymns to jazz and spirituals. They’re known for their versatility, powerful performance and vibrant singing.

Our National Schools Tour is a vital aspect of our Youth Development and Education programme and we are determined to work with schools across South Africa, bringing professional singers, pianists, coaches and accompanists to schools in disadvantaged and rural communities and also identify South Africa’s upcoming vocal talent.   To find and create opportunities for singers like these, Cape Town Opera supports an extensive educational schools program, teaching opera and singing at no cost to 3,700 children across the country each year.

Our Young Artist program is the only one of its kind in South Africa, providing young singers with identified soloist potential with a two-year bursary program to hone their skills, receive professional training and perform on stages at home and abroad. Our Young Artist graduates are now singing at ENO, Theater Dortmund, Dutch National Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real, the Metropolitan Opera and Vienna State Opera.


This is where you come in. Our UK Friends of Cape Town Opera believe in our mission to sustain opera in South Africa, and provide the opportunity for young people from socially and economically disadvantaged communities to participate in the artistic and educational initiatives of a world class company.

We welcome you to become part of our family.