Soprano star set to wow along with choir, ECPO

Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi will perform at the St Francis Hospice’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’
Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi will perform at the St Francis Hospice’s ‘Last Night of the Proms’

St Francis Hospice presents the Last Night of the Proms in Africa this weekend, with a concert and banquet at the Feather Market Centre on Saturday and Sunday.

Operatic soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi, 33, will be one of the star attractions along with a mass choir and the full Eastern Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the baton of the ebullient Richard Cock.

Despite her strong operatic pedigree, Mkhwanazi said this week that the programme would be really fun.

“It’s just great music,” the KwaZulu-Natal-born singer said.

She herself has been singing since before she went to school at the age of five, having slipped into choir rehearsals at the school where her father was a teacher.

“I love singing everything from gospel to opera and traditional mbaqanga,” said Mkhwanazi, who now is based in Cape Town.

She obtained her diploma in opera in 2010 and her postgraduate diploma in music performance in 2012, both from the University of Cape Town and later performed in Europe and the US, taking master classes with Fiorenza Cossotto and Giacomo Aragall in Vienna and with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.
“When I was growing up, I never listened to opera, it was only when I went to college that I was really exposed to it and then when I was in Chicago, I got a taste of jazz.”

As well as Mkhwanazi’s solos in Last Night of the Proms in Africa bagpipers, dancers and a commemoration of the life of the late Philipp Rowland Gutsche will also be part of the programme.

The Saturday concert starts at 5pm, and the Sunday concert at 3pm.

Saturday’s show is followed by an exclusive black-tie dinner with Cock as the host in the Selley Hall at the FMC.

Tables for dinner are on sale for R5 500 per table of 10, with concert tickets and champagne included in the price. Tickets for the concert alone are R150 with discounts for pensioners and pupils.

All funds raised by the Last Night of the Proms in Africa will go towards the provision of palliative care to hospice patients suffering from cancer, HIV/Aids or motor neuron disease.

For concert tickets or more information, contact Melanie Manson on (041) 360-7070 (mornings only).