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Genealogies of music accompanied narratives in South Africa: Choral tradition, music theatre and opera

The multivalent opportunities provided by the post-apartheid policy-led transforming cultural scene saw an intensification of cultural activities mushrooming throughout the country. In relation to musical theatre, what seemed like a ‘sudden’ boom of black operatic activity, sprung up throughout South Africa’s major cities – Pretoria, Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town – wherein a large number of gifted black youths, mainly from disadvantaged backgrounds, astonished and enthralled (inter)national opera audiences with ‘professionally trained/sounding’ operatic voices, a vocal-virtuosity domain formerly the preserve of white professional opera singers who had protracted, extensive music education, training and (inter)national exposure. This is a book about African arts and heritage – such as African theatre, izibongo, folksong, folk/contemporary narratives, popular songs/music, African dance, choral singing – as represented in the black composed operas and presented in operatic stages of South Africa and internationally, in America and Europe. It is about the known history of African arts in modern, European-derived arts, but in essence, also about the little known journey of African arts in ‘African opera’ composition since the turn of the twentieth century.


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