In this one-off performance, world renowned South African born but German-based opera singer, Pumeza Matshikiza showcased her internationally acclaimed talent when she took to the Artscape Theatre stage on January 3, 2019, paying a fitting tribute to South Africa’s first International Opera Star, Wendy Fine. The South African Opera Sensation, Matshikiza, worked her magic in association with The Cape Town City Ballet, to celebrate Wendy’s 80th birthday.
Sharing the stage with Matshikiza were rising opera stars Siphokazi Molteno George (Mezzo), Sipho Fubesi (Tenor) and Theo Magongoma (Baritone) accompanied by Juan Burgers as Pianist. Ballet dancers Xola Putye, Cleo Ames, Megan Henegan and Stephen Underwood thrilled audiences en pointe to the tunes of Swing, and a perfect evening of entertainment was guaranteed.
Says Matshikiza: “It is my honour to have performed in Cape Town, in celebration of Wendy Fine’s 80th birthday. She is an operatic icon who enjoyed an international career for many years. In addition, she nurtured and developed some of South Africa’s great voices. A real cause for celebration! I’m thrilled to have been part of this celebration with all the other performers in making this a special and a memorable day for Wendy!”
In her response, Fine enthused: “I am deeply honoured that a singer of Pumeza’s international stature came to sing in tribute to me at my 80th birthday concert. Pumeza is my favourite singer in the world. It is the greatest blessing I could have wished for. She has brought joy not only to audiences around the world but has proved inspiring to a new generation of singers on the global opera stage of today. I am immensely touched that she wanted to sing in my honour.”
Fine performed leading roles in many of the most distinguished opera houses with some of the greatest singers and conductors in the world, paving the way for generations to come of proudly South African opera singers now setting the global opera stages alight. This Birthday Tribute Concert at Artscape celebrates the life of this significant musical icon whose exceptional talents not only enabled her to perform to the highest acclaim at the greatest opera houses of our time, but to acknowledge her commitment afterwards to inspiring and nurturing South African singers, finding talent in our communities and taking them to the world.