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n South African Journal of Cultural History - The Black Tie Ensemble's contribution to opera in South Africa

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1018-0745
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Abstract

When the State Theatre in Pretoria ceased to function as home to a permanent opera company in 1997, the need arose to develop a programme to train talented young singers from diverse cultural backgrounds and to expose them to performing on a professional opera stage both in South Africa and abroad. From 1999 to 2011, the Black Tie Ensemble (the BTE) provided such a programme, one that resulted not only in training prospective singers, but also in celebrating cultural diversity and promoting a genre that provided people with a medium through which to express human experience and identity. The purpose of this article is to explore the contribution that the Black Tie Ensemble made to opera in South Africa and this will be done by tracing the history of this phenomenon during the twelve years that it operated exclusively as an opera company.


The research followed a qualitative design. It is a single, historical case study that was conducted from an interpretivist philosophical perspective. Data were collected by reviewing the limited literature available and by conducting interviews with prominent roleplayers in the Black Tie Ensemble. Specific themes crystallized as the selected interviewees shared their experiences and perceptions with the interviewer. These themes were similar to those emerging from the research done on the case records (newspaper and magazine articles). Once the data from the interviews and case records were organised according to themes, the impact of performances and training opportunities on the Black Tie Ensemble was evident and it became clear how this ensemble flourished during the twelve years from its inception in 1999 up to its dissolution in 2011. The themes also indicated that the development of singers and sponsorship of the arts contributed significantly to the success of this phenomenon. Furthermore, outreach programmes associated with the ensemble introduced the genre to the broader community.


Toe by die Staatsteater in Pretoria in 1997 opgehou bestaan het is om 'n tuiste aan 'n permanente operamaatskappy te bied, het 'n behoefte ontwikkel om 'n program te ontwikkel om talentvolle jong sangers uit diverse kulturele agtergronde op te lei en hulle bloot te stel aan uitvoerings op 'n professionele operaverhoog in Suid-Afrika en in die buiteland. Vanaf 1999 tot 2011 het die Black Tie Ensemble so 'n program voorsien - 'n program wat nie alleen die opleiding van voornemende sangers tot gevolg gehad het nie, maar ook die viering van kulturele diversiteit en die bevordering van 'n genre wat mense 'n medium bied waardeur menslike ervaring en identiteit uitgedruk kan word. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die bydrae te verken wat die Black Tie Ensemble tot opera in Suid-Afrika gemaak het, deur die geskiedenis van hierdie inisiatief te ondersoek vir die tydperk van twaalf jaar waartydens dit uitsluitlik as operageselskap gefunksioneer het.
Die navorsing volg 'n kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp. 'n Enkele, historiese gevallestudie word gedoen teen 'n interpretivistiese filosofiese perspektief. Data is ingesamel deur die beperkte beskikbare literatuur te ondersoek en deur onderhoude te voer met prominente rolspelers in die Black Tie Ensemble, sowel as 'n oorsig van artikels uit koerante en tydskrifte. Spesifieke temas het gekristalliseer namate die geselekteerde informante hul ervarings en persepsies met die onderhoudvoerder gedeel het. Hierdie temas is soortgelyk aan dié wat voortgevloei het uit die navorsing wat oor die gevallerekords (koerant- en tydskrifartikels) gedoen is. 'n Organisering van die data van die onderhoude en gevallerekords volgens temas toon duidelik wat die impak van die Black Tie Ensemble se optredes en opleidingsgeleenthede was, en dit toon hoe hierdie ensemble gedurende die twaalf jaar van sy unieke bestaan gefloreer het. Die temas het ook aangedui dat die ontwikkeling van sangers en borgskap van die kunste aansienlik bygedra het tot die sukses van hierdie verskynsel. Voorts het uitreikprogramme wat verband hou met die ensemble, die genre aan die breër gemeenskap bekendgestel.

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/content/culture/29/2/EJC184593
2015-12-01
2016-12-10

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