Thursday, March 20, 2014

Sergio A. Mims: Decca Classics: 'Voice of Hope' - The debut album from South African Soprano Pumeza Matshikiza

Pumeza Matshikiza (© Simon Fowler / Decca)

Sergio A. Mims writes:

I came across this piece about the debut album on Decca Classics by Pumeza Matshikiza which was in German but below in the English translation: 

Voice of Hope - The debut album from Pumeza Matshikiza

Pumeza Matshikizas story sounds a bit like a modern fairy tale. Growing up in the slums of Cape Town she is today celebrating successes in European opera houses.  Her debut album, aptly titled "Voice of Hope".
The soprano Pumeza Matshikiza grew up in the slums around Cape Town. Violence and racial hatred were ubiquitous in her childhood. The images of tear gas inserts and ill-treatment in anti-apartheid demonstrations have been deeply etched in her memory. "As children, we have seen things that we should not have seen. It was horrible, but that was the time in which we lived."
As a teenager she discovered classical music - a world of great beauty, which contributes unprecedented joy and hope. "I heard this music randomly on the radio, even before we used it in the choir came in contact, and long before I decided to study music," she says. . "Opera fascinated me particularly what I heard, had an incredible impact on me. Suppleness of the voice, the orchestra - everything was just beautiful and so I fell in love"

Call of the heart

Had it been up to her math teacher, she would have done a university degree in surveying technology.  But she followed the call of her heart. "I lived on the upper campus of the University; lay at the bottom of the South African College of Music, I went down there and heard the people played the piano and sang, and thought, oh, I would also be very happy." For a year quarrels with them to their fate. "In the end, I enrolled at the College of Music."
In her studiess, she met the composer Kevin Volans.  Impressed by her voice, he invited her to go in 2002 as part of the ensemble of his opera production of "The Confessions of Zeno" on a European tour.After her successful graduation, he obtained for her a plane ticket to London. She passed the entrance examination at the Royal College of Music and maintained a full-time scholarship for three years. In 2007 she received her degree, a Masters in Performance. Since 2011 she has been a member of the Stuttgart Opera.
"This music has never previously sung in an operatic manner with an orchestra," she says. "That's why I wanted to maintain the right balance, not to sound too operatic and at the same time not suppress the African qualities of the music." Matshikiza sings in the local languages ​​Xhosa, Swahili and Setswana and partly together with a South African children's choir. 


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