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  • 2 0 1 7 A N N U A L R E P O R T

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    V I S I O N & VA L U E S T O B E T H E L E A D I N G O P E R A C O M P A N Y O F I T S T Y P E

    I N T H E W O R L D , A N D A S O U R C E O F P R I D E T O A L L S O U T H A F R I C A N S .

    O U R M I S S I O N

    To promote and develop the appreciation, enjoyment and understanding

    of opera amongst all South Africans, and respect for its practitioners;

    To mobilise all available local, national, regional and global artistic, financial and managerial resources in support of CTO’s vision;

    To contribute to committed and innovative stewardship of opera and the operatic arts in South Africa;

    To show sensitivity to the needs and requirements of the broad-based opera community in South Africa.

    To engage with and inspire future generations

    O U R V A L U E S

    Excellence and integrity in all our undertakings;

    Committed and innovative stewardship;

    Sound and ethical governance;

    Open engagement with stakeholders.

    O U R G O A L S

    Provide a full and varied programme of world class opera and operatic productions with South African and international artists in South Africa;

    Provide training and skills development opportunities for South African singers and operatic arts practitioners in South Africa and abroad;

    Provide performance opportunities for South African singers and operatic arts practitioners in South Africa and abroad;

    Encourage and support the creation and production of new operatic and musical works that reflect South Africa’s cultural diversity and explore African identity.

    C O N T E N T S

    V I S I O N & V A L U E S

    C H A I R P E R S O N ’ S R E P O R T

    M A N A G I N G D I R E C T O R ’ S N O T E

    D E P A R T M E N T A L R E P O R T S

    F A C T S & F I G U R E S

    A R T I S T I C D I R E C T O R ’ S R E P O R T

    A C T I V I T I E S B Y M O N T H

    G L O B A L R E A C H

    S T A F F

    Y O U T H D E V E L O P M E N T & E D U C A T I O N

    D I R E C T O R S & T R U S T E E S

    F I N A N C I A L R E P O R T

    F U N D E R S & S P O N S O R S

    P A T R O N S & B E Q U E S T S

    2 0 1 8 S E A S O N




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    A R T F U L LY C O N S T R U C T E D U P O N

    A S E R I E S O F A N T I T H E S E S , C A P E

    T O W N O P E R A’ S N E W P R O D U C T I O N

    O F WAG N E R ’ S E A R LY M A S T E R P I E C E

    H A S C O M P L E X I T Y A N D A R E S O N A N C E

    B E YO N D T H AT O F A N O P E R AT I C V E R S I O N

    O F A N O L D M Y T H .

    B E V E R L E Y B R O M M E R T O N

    D E R F L I E G E N D E H O L L Ä N D E R C A P E T I M E S

  • C H A I R P E R S O N ’ S R E P O R T

    I find uplifting the way Cape Town Opera embraces each new year with such positive energy, and the start of 2017 was no different. As the year unfolded however, the Company would also draw deeply on its resilience to confront the huge challenges that faced everyone from mid-year. The separate cancellation of two major overseas revenue-generating tours by host venues, due to their internal management problems, had significant repercussions for the Company.

    Cape Town Opera embarked on the difficult process of restructuring to become leaner, and to concentrate all resources on realising the purpose for which it exists – to perform, promote and develop opera sustainably, and to provide outreach programmes which nurture a love of this inspiring performing art.

    Board and management were resolute that Cape Town Opera should not stop singing. Patrons and benefactors concurred and their strong support was critical to this end. The Board and I are deeply appreciative of their belief in the Company and of their generosity, in particular the foresight of leading classical arts philanthropist, Mrs Wendy Ackerman. I commend management, singers and staff for the courage, sheer grit and determination they showed throughout this unsettling period; for the professionalism and confidence with which they continued to present world-class opera on stage at home and abroad, and deliver outreach programmes locally and nationally. I encourage you to read the reports by the Managing Director and the Heads of Department to appreciate the wide scope, variety and richness of Cape Town Opera’s work.

    I appreciate the generous grants and contributions from trusts, foundations, and corporate and government entities, including the National Lotteries Commission and the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport, and welcome our new international relationships with opera companies and festivals.

    I thank our many opera lovers in South Africa and abroad for their unwavering loyalty and understanding of the complex challenges to be faced in sustaining a permanent opera company in South Africa. I appreciate the strong support and insight from our Trustees in Cape Town and in the UK.

    I thank warmly my fellow Directors for their unswerving support, collegiality and hard work in maintaining the equilibrium necessary to effect significant change while simultaneously enabling the company to focus with purpose.

    I look ahead to 2018 reassured that our experiences have tempered Cape Town Opera to emerge stronger, facing the future with confidence and conviction.

    S U S A N S M I T H

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  • M A N AG I N G D I R E C T O R ’ S R E P O R T

    Cape Town Opera delivered an ambitious program of opera, musicals, concerts, educational and outreach projects in 2017. The year-round programming featured three classic works reimagined as a reflection of our life in South Africa, a large scale new musical, and our first tours to Dubai and Hong Kong. I am pleased to report that the staff of Cape Town Opera remained committed to mounting world class opera productions and creating new work with predominantly South African artists.

    Our training program continues to be one of our most rewarding and successful enterprises. Several singers from the CTO Studio won prizes in 2017, most notably Mandla Mndebele who came third in The Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Moscow and also won the Audience Prize; Cecilia Rangwanasha won Second Prize in the UNISA National Singing Competition and First Prize at ATKV Muziqanto National Competition; and Siphamandla Yakupa won the Mbokodo Award 2017 for Opera, awarded to Women in Arts and Culture. The high standard of our young artists is a testament to the artistic team in general, and to Lize Coetzer and her staff of vocal coaches, in particular. An important part of our program is our Outreach and Education work. Under the leadership of Christine Crouse, the Outreach team travelled to the Eden

    district, Free State province, the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal on their annual South African School Choral Eisteddfod tour. These activities continue to encourage new audiences to attend opera, develop emerging artists, and enable CTO’s Studio artists to gain valuable teaching experience.

    In the second half of 2017 CTO made its debut at the Dubai Opera and the Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre with our production of Mandela Trilogy. We were pleased to tour with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra who provided sparkling accompaniment under the baton of Tim Murray. As part of the Hong Kong Arts Festival we were commissioned to create an exhibition on Nelson Mandela. Mandela – Voice of the Nation was installed in the foyer of the Grand Theatre for the duration of the Africa Festival and was viewed by over 10 000 visitors. Unfortunately the tours of Porgy & Bess to the new venue Le Seine Musical in Paris in September and the opera house in Fuessen in December were cancelled at short notice. This meant a 30% drop in income for 2017 which produced a serious shortfall in our operational budget for 2017. Cost saving measures were implemented and we are grateful for the loans from Duet and CTO Endowment.

    Critical to our success last year has been the partnerships alongside other organizations with similar goals to our own. The Wales Millennium Centre produced a new musical, Tiger Bay, in association with Cape Town Opera. This was our largest project to date and we were proud to host a West End creative team who took up residence in Artscape for five weeks to deliver a thrilling season of a large scale musical. We collaborated with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and mounted a Gala concert which raised funds for the Duet Endowment.

    Our collaboration with the University of Cape Town Opera School resulted in a sharing of resources, benefitting both our Studio members and University music students. The production of Mozart’s The Magic Flute proved to be a wonderful example of how popular youth culture can align with excellent musical values and high quality singing. Kamal Khan and Brandon Phillips did an exemplary job of conducting a double cast of young singers in this very popular Matthew Wild production. We were particularly pleased, after the disruption of our Magic Flute season with the UCT Opera School in 2016, to produce a sell- out season to critical acclaim.

    This will be my final Annual Report for Cape Town Opera as I

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