AMERICAN opera soloists headed by pianist, conductor and musical director Gerald Steichen belted a feast of popular ballads with rich singing voices at the Cabs Opera Gala on Wednesday night at Hifa.
BY TATIRA ZWINOIRA
Opera is an art form where singers and musicians perform dramatic work combined with texts (called libretto) and musical score, usually in a theatrical setting. The Cabs Opera Music gala had many in attendance with some sitting on the grass, others on the stands and some in the VIP stand.
“I really enjoyed the performances tonight. They were rich and majestic and for people our age it is very soothing music to listen too,” said an elderly couple.
The soloists performed the musical ballads in Italian which is where the genre originates from.
The night opened with solo performances from mezzo-soprano Krysty Swann who gave an engaging performance followed by James Valenti, an internationally acclaimed tenor who caught the attention of women in attendance.
The six-foot-five and muscular figure drove women into frenzy as they cheered at him when he walked onto the stage.
“It was nice to hear Valenti perform. He has such a good voice which my friends and I wanted to hear,” said one young woman.
After the solo performances from Valenti and Indra Thomas followed a duet based on a story about a man wanting a woman who is reluctant to give herself fully.
An internationally popular opera story titled Madam Butterfly, about two confused people who end up falling in love, was performed next with Laquita Mitchell and Valenti delivering the end of the first act to an ecstatic audience.
Another popular story, The Force of Destiny, which talked about a woman who decided to become a hermit following a series of misfortunes was delivered by Thomas leaving the audience deeply engulfed in the drama.
Lestor Lynch and Swann delivered a duet about a woman who discovers an affair between her friend and husband revealing it to her friend’s husband with disastrous consequences.
Thomas and Lynch delivered the final act of the Ll Trovatore (The Troubadour) a story about two men who fall in love with the same woman, with Lynch taking the role of the antagonist Count Di Luna — a situation that kind of shocked the audience.
The American soloists teamed up towards the end to sing American composer Aaron Copland’s famous piece titled The Promise of Living with local choir The Zimspiration led by Kundisai Mtero providing background vocals.
Finally, The Zimspiration Choir took centre stage to perform Queen with their soloist Tatenda Uchena providing lead to a standing ovation from the audience.
“It was nice to see our own Zimbabwean talent performing alongside these international artistes because it showed that we have much to offer just as the foreign artists, internationally,” another couple commented on the choir.
There is no doubt that people left the Cabs Opera Gala stage enthralled.