30 Pine Grove, Weybridge, KT13 9AW secretary@ukfriendsofcto.co.uk +44 (0) 193 295 3828


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

Soprano Siphamandla Yakupa competed as an opera soloist for the first time at age 17. She won her high school eistedfodd competition singing Porgi Amor from Le Nozze di Figaro, having learned it from a tape recording at her home in Queenstown with no keyboard or coaching.

At age 13, baritone Mandla Mndebele first watched Luciano Pavarotti and Sherrill Milnes in the Metropolitan Opera’s Il Trovatore, crowded around a TV in Secunda with his fellow community choir members. He was the youngest choir member by 5 years, and six years later Mandla won first place as a soloist in South Africa’s Tirisano National Choral Festival.

Tenor Lunga Eric Hallam, born and raised in Khayelitsha, founded a choir of 70 young voices the same year he enrolled at the University of Cape Town College of Music. With his strong family support, Lunga’s love of baroque and classical works and dual talents as a singer and choir conductor are helping him realize an international career in opera.

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 2,200 children across the country each year. Our Young Artists program is the only one of its kind in South Africa, providing young singers with identified soloist potential 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, the Metropolitan Opera, Vienna State Opera, Dutch National Opera, Madrid’s Teatro Real . . . and we’re excited to continue working in schools with the next generation of great South African opera stars.


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

We welcome you to become part of our family.