Saturday 25 May, 19:00 — Moravian Church, Genadendal
The gala concert of the Classics for All features the cream of classical talent in South Africa. Pianist Philippus Hugo directs well-known mezzo soprano Minette du Toit-Pearce, making her 4th appearance at Classics for All, plus young singers currently making waves in the world of opera — Britttany Hope Smith (back this year by public demand after her stellar performance at the festival in 2018), Keanan Lyle Mitchell (tenor) and Garth Delport (bass), accompanied by the Festival String Ensemble, led by Valentina Koleva Vorster. Artists’ biographies below
MINETE DU TOIT-PEARCE
Minette began her vocal training in 1993 under the tutelage of Magdalena Oosthuizen. She received the degrees BMus, BMus (Hons) and MMus (Cum Laude) specializing in singing. She completed the University of SouthAfrica (UNISA) Teachers and Performance Licentiates (both Cum Laude) and received the DJ Roode Overseas Scholarship, the Gertrude Buchanan and SAMRO prize during the UNISA bursary competitions. She was the overall winner of the ATKV Musiq competition as well as winner of the singing category and the Mozart prize. She was named first runner up in the SAMRO International Scholarship competition and also won the prize for best performance of a prescribed work.In 2009 she was a finalist in the Kohn Foundation Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London. In 2010 she was also a finalist in the American Institute of Musical Studies’ (AIMS) Meistersinger Competition in Graz.
She attended several summer schools such as Ticino Musica in Lugano and AIMS in Graz, receiving lessons from Barbara Bonney, Michelle Crider and Michelle Breedt.
She regularly performs as a soloist in Oratorio and her repertoire includes Händel’s Messiah, the St Matthew’s Passion, St John’s Passion and B minor Mass by Bach, Stabat Mater by Pergolesi, Stabat Mater by Karl Jenkins and Mozart’s Requiem to name a few. Minette is an accomplished singer of lieder both locally and abroad and regularly performs at The Songmakers’ Guild in Cape Town. In 2017 she was nominated for a WoordTROfee for her performance of Mahler’s Das Lied von der Erde. She has performed with all major orchestras in South Africa, most notably the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra.
Minette has performed at several National Arts Festivals in South Africa including the KKNK, Klein Karoo Klassique, AARDKLOP, Woordfees, Cultivaria, Suidooster Fees, Hermanus FynArts and Greyton Genadendal Classics for All Festival. She has been nominated for three Kyknet Fiësta awards for her contribution to classical music at an arts festival.In 2015 she travelled to France and sang several concerts with the South African pianist Ilse Schumann and baritone Niël Rademan.
Minette regularly adjudicates at Eisteddfods and often travelsoutside of South Africa to Namibia and Zimbabwe to teach and perform. Since 2016 she has travelled to Maputo, Mozambique to perform at the Xiquitsi Mùsica Clàssica festival, where she also presented master classes. She is the head of the Singing Division at Stellenbosch University and fills the position of Senior Lecturer in Singing. She runs a very successful series of workshops “Working with Young Voices” and regularly presents these to teachers and singers. Minette made her American debut when she performed as soloist in Beethoven’s 9th Symphony with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis in 2017. She also accompanied the orchestra on their South African tour as part of their Mandela 100 celebrations.
Philippus Hugo obtained the degrees B.Mus, B.Mus(hons) and M.Mus (Cum Laude) in piano performing from the University of Stellenbosch under the guidance of Juliana de Villiers. He makes his solo debut with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra at the age of 16.
During his student years, he regularly performs as soloist with the CTPO, Natal Philharmonic, Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra and the Hugo Lambrechts Symphony Orchestra. In 1992 he was appointed the post as official accompanist at the Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre, a post he held for 5 years before accepting a teaching post at Rustenburg Girls school. After teaching for 5 years he was appointed as accompanist at the University of Stellenbosch in 2001, where he still works as part time accompanist. Since 1994 until 2010 he was the official accompanist for the ABSA National music competition in Port Elizabeth and performed as accompanist for the SANLAM music competition in Cape Town.
He is a regular accompanist for the ATKV Musique, Artscape Competition, UNISA gr8 and Overseas Bursary Competition as well as freelance accompanist for national arts festivals like the KKNK, KK, Vryfees, Hermanus Fine Arts Festival, Darling Voorkamerfest and the Greyton Genadendal Classics for All Festival. In 2011 he was asked to perform with the American singers Kennethia Mitchell and Lawrence Craig Jr at the annual Maputo International Music Festival. He performed again in 2014, 2016 and 2017 as accompanist at the Maputo International Music Festival.From 2012until 2016 he was the official accompanist for the Muziqante Competition. He is also the producer, accompanist and programme arranger for the prize winners of the ATKV competition’s country tours.
His production of the opening concert at the Klein Karoo Classique festival in Oudtshoorn, in 2013, was nominated for a Fiesta Award for best classical concert at a national festival. He is regularly appointed as adjudicator for various eisteddfods in South Africa. In 2012 he was a guest artist at the Harare Music Festival in Zimbabwe. In 2014 he is appointed as a member of the board of examiners for UNISA. Since 2000 he is one of the official accompanists at the Conserve, University of Stellenbosch and he specialize in working with singers. Philippus is also a chef and he and his partner run the well-known Driefontein Farm Restaurant in the Overberg.
BRITTANY HOPE SMITH
Brittany is a BMus graduate in Opera at the South African College of Music at UCT under the tutelage of Professor Virginia Davids. She was first introduced to opera in her tenth year of schooling at Rhenish Girls' High School through her teacher and opera singer Sonja van Amstel. 2013 she was cast in the chorus of the UCT Opera School’s production of Don Giovanni by W.A Mozart and in the same year awarded the Ruth Ormond Prize for the Most Promising First Year Female Opera Student.
In 2014 she performed in the chorus of Il viaggio a Reims by G Rossini and last year debuted her first singing role as Cherubino in UCT Opera School’s production of Le nozze di Figaro by W.A Mozart. Brittany’s dream to sing with an orchestra as a soloist at the age of 21 has been realised with her successful audition for 2015's Artscape/CPO Youth Music Festival. She was selected as one of 9 for the Les Azuriales Opera Festival where she competed and also took part in their Falstaff Reduced opera where she started as Nannetta. Brittany was also the winner for the Shock Foundation Opera Competition in the Female Classical Section for 2016.
She debuted with Cape Town Opera last year as Pamina in W.A Mozart's, Die Zauberflöte (The Magic Flute) at great success. Brittany is currently doing her second year in PostGraduate Performance Diploma in Opera as well as employed by Cape Town Opera into their Young Artist Program. She recently received a nomination for the 53rd Fleur du Cap Awards for Best Female Opera Singer for 2017 for her role as Pamina in Cape Town Opera's The Magic Flute. Brittany has performed her role as Adele for AGL Opera's Die Fledermaus, which was performed at this year’s Suid-Ooster Fees under the direction of Raimondo van Staden and Conductor Johannes Slabbert. Brittany has recently performed her role as Norina in Gaetano Donizetti’s Don Pasquale under the baton of Maestro Daniel Montané and direction of Claudia Blersch
KEANAN LYLE MITCHELL
Keanan Lyle Mitchell is a BMus General graduate from the South African College of Music at the University of Cape Town under the guidance of Professor Virginia Davids. His love for the arts was instilled from a very young age attending culturally rich schools, having professional opera singers in the family, being a member of the Tygerberg International Children’s Choir, thereafter the ProCantu Youth Choir (Cape Town Youth Choir) and a student of Hugo Lambrechts Music Centre under the guidance of Vanessa Tait-Jones.
He is no stranger to the stage, having performed in various concerts in the Western Cape, as well as being a chorus member in operas such as UCT/CTO’s La Traviata. In 2018, Keanan was selected as one of the soloists to perform in the Artscape/CPO’s Western Cape Youth Music Festival and was cast as Paulino in the UCT Opera School’s Kaleidoscope production of Il Matrimonio Segreto.
Keanan is currently studying his Master of Music degree and has been cast as Lorenzo for the UCT/CTO 2019 production of I Capuleti e I Montecchi. He is also the founder and chairperson of a Community Arts Organisation partnered with the National Department of Arts & Culture and Business & Arts South Africa making the arts accessible to all.
GARTH DELOPRT completed his PDM (Performance diploma in Music) at UCT College of Music under the guidance of Professor Virginia Davids and Dr Brad Liebl. During his time at the UCT College of Music, he was part of the opera chorus and performed in The Rake’s Progress, The Marriage of Figaro, La boheme, Il viaggio a Reims and Four: 20 operas made in South Africa.
In 2013 he performed as a soloist for the opening of the Suidoosterfees festival and in 2015 he sang a principal role as “Vader/Laius” in the opera premier of Anti-Laius at the Artscape
Theatre. He is also a frequent performer for the Conspirito Philharmonic Music Society under the direction of Dr Sjoerd Alkema, where he sang the Mozart Requiem as well as various opera arias for the "Night at the opera" event. He also performed the role of the undertaker in Cape Town Opera's production of Porgy and Bess in South Korea.
He is currently working at Cape Town Opera where he performed in Rigoletto, African Angels, Grace Notes, Flying Dutchman as well as singing the role of Sarastro in the Magic flute. He is currently understudying the Verdi Requim Oratrio.