Cape Town Opera continues its work in 2019 with schools in a huge variety and breadth of communities throughout South Africa, bringing professional singers, pianists, coaches and accompanists to schools in disadvantaged and rural communities and identifying South Africa’s next generation of vocal talent.  Our 2019 partner schools are: Athlone School for the Blind (Athlone), Chris Hani Arts and Culture High School, Lathi-tha LSEN School of Skills and Noluthando School for the Deaf (Khayelitsha), Phandulwazi High School (Phillipi), St Mary’s Primary (Retreat), Masiphatisane Primary School (Vredenburg), Dominican School for the Deaf (Wynberg).

“The Cape Town Opera, through its developmental programmes, provides an enriching alternate lifestyle to youth who would otherwise be participating in the social ills ravaging our communities. Its high standards, quality teaching ethos and empowering opportunities enable the [company] to serve as a social bridge to allow all to holistically develop their talents and confidence through access to opera music, promoting dignity and self-worth while creating community upliftment.”
Western Cape Minister of Arts and Culture Anroux Marais.

CTO’s People of Nyalashishi – Meet the learners, teachers and YDE team – Click here to watch

February – May CTO brought a choral conductor to the rural West Coast community of Vredenburg to work with the primary school choir for weekly coaching, in preparation for the annual school choir competitions.  Our partner school in Vredenburg, Masiphathisane Primary School won the 2019 Annual West District Sasce Competition and will represent the district at the Provincial eliminations at the end of May
February – SASCE (South African School Choral Eisteddfod) workshops in Beaufort West and George for public school and community choir leaders and conductors

April –  A three week National Schools Tour music boot camp for over 2000 learners from 80 public schools in Polokwane, Klerksdorp, Johannesburg, Durban,  Mthatha, Queenstown, Bloemfontein, Kimberley, George and Cape Town

Cape Town Opera on the road for countrywide SASCE ABC MOTSEPE Eisteddfod Competition workshops


May –  750 learners and NGO representatives attended performances of the Bellini opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi (based on the story of Romeo and Juliet) at Artscape Opera House, including sign language interpretation for 100 hearing-impaired and special needs learners from Wynberg and Khayelitsha
May –  CTO brings its award-winning chorus to work with young learners at St Mary’s Primary, to host a choir concert in the Retreat community
May/June – We work with 40 learners from Phillipi to create a new youth musical, Ubizo (the Calling) which is based on themes of the myth of Orpheé et Eurydice, taken from Gluck’s opera which CTO performs in September
June/July – We partner with the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport and WECCMA to launch a choral festival for farm, community, church and school choirs – this time with five West Coast municipality communities

Sept/Oct – We will bring 450 learners and NGO representatives to performances of the Gluck opera Orphée et Eurydice at the Baxter Theatre, including sign language interpretation and audio description for 20 hearing- and sight-impaired and special needs learners from Athlone, Wynberg and Gugulethu

November – Our arts careers team of singers, designers, fundraisers, marketers, painters and costume manufacturers will visit four schools to teach about the wide variety of jobs available in the performing arts

In 2018, Cape Town Opera’s Youth Development and Education (YDE) Department drove the length and width of South Africa, bringing music education to a total of 5000 students and singers throughout the year with an inspiring variety of projects:
• A youth musical based on Athol Fugard’s novel Tsotsi with Chris Hani Arts and Culture and Lathi-tha LSEN School of Skills in Khayelitsha
• Western Cape Karoo Choral Festival, featuring 200 singers from rural choirs in Beaufort West, Laingsburg, Prince Albert and Leeu-Gamka
• South African schools choral eisteddfod workshops in Cape Town and the Eden District
• Don Pasquale youth opera in Vredenburg on the West Coast, and St Mary’s Primary in Retreat
• People of Nyalashishi youth opera about San and Xhosa cultural and oral traditions, and natural resource and ecological preservation with Chris Hani Arts and Culture High School and Makupula Secondary School in Kayamandi
• Arts career workshops, teaching about careers in design, fundraising, singing and accompaniment in Khayelitsha and Kayamandi.

CTO implements a rigorous monitoring and evaluation programme for its YDE activities, with each participating learner at the start and end of each project. Outcomes from programmes with our 2018 partner schools have shown:
• A 68% increase in learners’ positive assessment of their physical health
• A 70% increase in learners’ knowledge about the breadth and diversity of performing arts career opportunities
• A 65% increase in learners’ knowledge about and ability to identify South African opera artists
• A 59% improvement in learners’ academic grades
• A 59% improvement in learners’ levels of self-confidence
• An 88% increase in learners’ understanding of adapting words and stories to music

Cape Town Opera thanks the very generous and committed support of the City of Cape Town, the HCI Foundation, MariaMarina Foundation, Mauerberger Foundation Fund, National Geographic, the Patrons of Cape Town Opera, Rand Merchant Bank, the UK Friends of Cape Town Opera Charitable Trust, and the Western Cape Government Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport for our Youth Development and Education activities.Thank you to The Judith Neilson Head Trust for its generous support of Cape Town Opera’s educational programmes.

“Thank you for sharing your resources with the Masiphathisane school community. Please be assured that your support has touched the lives of disadvantaged schoolchildren who seldom get exposure and the opportunity to showcase their talents.”
R.H.Joorst, Acting-Principal, Masiphatisane Primary School (Vredenburg)

Please contact CTO’s YDE Coordinators Masixole Makwetu (masixolem@capetownopera.co.za) and Madré Loubser (madrel@captownopera.co.za) for any questions about our programmes and community impact.