Sunday 14 May 2023, 15:00, The Oaks, Riviersonderend Road, R170

Two of South Africa’s most renowned and beloved musicians, soprano Zanne Stapelberg De Lange and pianist Elna van der Merwe, will be performing with clarinettist Suretha Theron, bringing us a celebration of classical music – Dvorak, Bizet, Piazzola – and iconic classic musicals and songs from the world of cinema such as Papa can you Hear Me (from Yentl) and Cabaret. (Biographies below)


Zanne Stapelberg de Lange

Zanne Stapelberg is one of South Africa’s most celebrated singers. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from the University of Stellenbosch with a BA Mus degree and a Higher Licentiate in Musical Performance. Her voice teacher and mentor was prof. Magdalena Oosthuizen. After her studies she joined the Cape Town Opera Studio. Opera roles include, Angelica in Puccini’s Sour Angelica, Mimi in La Boheme, Alice in Verdi’s opera Falstaff, Ilia in Mozart’s Idomeneo, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, Rosalinda in Straus’s Die Fledermaus and Micaela in Bizets Carmen. Oratorio roles include Verdi’s Requiem, Dvorák Requiem, Mozart Requiem and Handel’s Messiah.
At university Zanne specialized in Art song. Over the past 23 years, she has performed across South Africa and in Europe in programmes featuring works such as Frauenliebe und leben by R. Schumann, Wagner’s Wesendonck Lieder, Ravel’s Chanson Madecasses and Sheherazade, Les Nuits d’été by H. Berlioz , Fête Galantes by Debussy, Vier Weemoedige Liedjies by Arnold van Wyk, Die Stil Avontuur, Tre Liriche in Stile Anticho and the Death of Cleopatra by Hendrik Hofmeyr and Siete Canciones Populares Españolas by M. de Falla and 12 Tonadillas al estilo Antiguo by Enrique Granados. The Spanish lieder performances led to her collaboration with guitarist James Grace for their sold-out productions Canciones Espanolas and Canciones de Sur with Minette du Toit-Pearce.
At the Grahamstown Festival she was lauded as a “national treasure” by critics. She is the recipient of the KANNA Award for best classical production at the 2014 KKNK with the Odeion String Quartet. She also received a Woordfees Award for the production Zoid, Zanne, Zolani alongside Karen Zoid and Zolani Mahola. Zanne is a versatile artist and has the ability to perform in various genres. She did a Cabaret Programme for the Songmakers Guild with Albie van Schalkwyk. Her production, Secret Songs, featured popular songs translated into a classical style. Her Afrikaans Cabaret Spieël/Speel, co-written with Kathleen Tagg featured musicians from the world of jazz, blues, Africanand classical music. They set to music new texts written for them by Hennie Aucamp, Willem de Vries and Deon Meyer.
She often collaborates with artists from other genres as she believes that this is one of the best ways to keep classical music alive and relevant. She has been nominated for a SAMA award along with Kathleen Tagg for their album, SOUL OF FIRE, of which the stage production was reviewed as “one of the most remarkable musical productions yet to have emerged from South Africa…” Music from this album is also featured in Deon Meyer’s movie, Die Laaste Tango. She is the recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, was chosen by lnsig Magazine as the Top Theatre Attraction in South Africa. Zanne received the Best Young Opera Singer Award from the Friends of Cape Town Opera and the Cosmopolitan Awesome Woman Award for her work as opera singer and producer. With a full sponsorship from Standard Bank, she recorded her album Opera Gala- live in concert with the University of Stellenbosch Symphony Orchestra in November 2013 Zanne was approached by NAXOS to release both her albums worldwide.
What the critics say: Soul of Fire is the mere continuation of Stapelberg’s rebellious refusal to be pigeonholed by convention and to be imprisoned by the refined, cultured confines of traditional classical music. Judging from her recent shows, Stapelberg is hurling classical music and opera into the laps of audiences who previously wouldn’t have listened to the genres – while not cheapening the styles and maintaining their integrity. {Darren Taylor, Voice of America)

Elna van der Merwe

Elna van der Merwe was a fulltime accompanist and part-time piano lecturer at the Conservatory of the University of Stellenbosch until 2001. Since then she is an ad hoc pianist and sought-after collaborative artist for local as well as international artists such as Michell Breedt (mezzo soprano), Douglas Masek (Saxophonist), Maria Kliegel (cellist), Susan Milan (flautist). Elna studied piano and organ at the University of Stellenbosch , she won several awards, stipendiums and competitions. She performed as soloist with various national orchestras. Local instrumentalists and singers with whom she regularly performs are Zanta Hofmeyr, Zanne Stabelberg, the South African Sopranos, Niel Rademan, Maria du Toit, Liesl Stolz, Peter Martens, Suzanne Martens. In May 2011 she performed as collaborative pianist with Zanta Hofmeyr in Malta. She also accompanied the Libertas choir on their tours to Belgium and the USA. She has been awarded by Samro in gratitude and recognition for excellent service in accompaniment in the Overseas Scholarship Competitions. As accompanist she has appeared in all the Unisa International singing-, strings- (since 1990) and recently the flute and clarinet competitions. As multi-talented pianist she has played in two piano arrangements with Zorada Temmingh as part of the Blondes in all the major festivals in South Africa. In 2011 The Blondes performed in Israel and London. She has recorded many Cd’s and Dvd’s with different artists and served on several music competition panels as adjudicator.

Suretha Theron

Suretha Theron’s love for the clarinet was ignited when she was first introduced to the clarinet as a grade 8 learner at Durbanville High School. Suretha went on to study music at the University of Stellenbosch under Jimmy Reinders and completed her Master’s Degree Cum Laude in Clarinet Performance in 2010. Since then, Suretha has performed as an ad hoc clarinetist in several orchestras around South Africa including the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra and the Natal Philharmonic Orchestra. She considers ensemble playing her first love and performs regularly in a variety of ensembles. Suretha’s passion and enthusiasm for music and music education is visible in her work with the Durbanville High School Wind Band with which she has been for over 20 years. Under her baton, this orchestra has won several competitions and Eisteddfods which include the Cape Town Eisteddfod, Kaapse Afrikaanse Eisteddfod, Tygerberg Eisteddfod, the Empangeni National Orchestra Festival as well as the ensemble category in the South African Orchestra Championships. Suretha aims to provide a sociable environment for learners where they can not only learn music, but also valuable attributes such as teamwork, team spirit, discipline and self-esteem. She is also actively involved in community music and regularly adjudicates community competitions and Eisteddfods. She prides herself in making music accessible and enjoyable to as many people as possible.

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