Bass baritone Bryn Terfel, one of the most sought after international voices, will perform alongside 70 youngsters from the Wales Millennium Centre / Only Kids Aloud Chorus during an historic visit to Cape Town, South Africa next spring. They will perform in two concerts at Artscape Theatre Centre on Cape Town's waterfront as part of the Africa-UK arts and culture season in 2014 to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid rule and the establishment of democracy in South Africa.
Today it was announced that the multiple Grammy and Classical Brit Award winner, Bryn Terfel, will perform alongside the Chorus, making his debut in South Africa.
Bryn said: "Singing alongside a 70 strong young choir from Wales in South Africa will be a terrific experience, not only for me, but for all the young choristers from all parts of Wales. South Africa shares with Wales a strong and vibrant choral tradition, and the eisteddfod tradition, which nurtures so much talent over here, is very much alive there too. This will truly be a life changing experience for the children, and as a parent myself I know it will also be a memorable and proud experience for their parents too." He continued: "Although I am a frequent visitor to many of the world's leading opera houses and concert halls, this will be my first performance in South Africa and what a way to be experiencing the country for the first time, during their historic landmark celebrations. To be sharing the stage with Cape Town Opera's singers, on such an occasion will be amazing."
During the Chorus' first rehearsal earlier this year the children learnt of their visit to South Africa via video message from Michael Williams, Managing Director of Cape Town Opera. He said: "Cape Town Opera and Wales Millennium Centre have had a close relationship over the years. We now need to look at our next collaboration. There have been many months of discussions as to how we can bring the best of Wales to the world, and take the best of the world to Wales. So we've come up with an idea that can take you, the Only Kids Aloud Chorus – of course, the best of Wales – to come here…We would like to formally invite you to come to Cape Town as our special guests." The choristers will perform at the Artscape Theatre Centre, near Cape Town's waterfront next spring.
Wales Millennium Centre has enjoyed a 10 year partnership with Cape Town Opera since South African businessman, Sir Donald Gordon, donated £10m towards the Centre's development in 2003. One of the conditions of the donation was that the Centre established a relationship with a creative company in his home country. Bet Davies from Wales Millennium Centre said: "With the strong choral traditions in both Wales and South Africa, our partnership with Cape Town Opera is a perfect fit."
The idea behind the Wales Millennium Centre/Only Kids Aloud Chorus came about in 2011 when Wales Millennium Centre collaborated with Only Men Aloud's Musical Director, Tim Rhys Evans, to form a pan-Wales children's choir. The original aim was to perform in a one-off concert of The Symphony of a Thousand Voices, Mahler's Symphony No. 8, at the Centre, with one of the world's most prominent conductors, Maestro Valery Gergiev and his world renowned Mariinsky Opera company from St Petersburg. The 2012 Chorus subsequently received an invitation from Maestro Gergiev himself to perform in the prestigious Mariinsky Theatre in St Petersburg last March, ahead of their performance at Wales Millennium Centre in April. The icing on the cake for the Chorus was an invitation to sing in Danny Boyle's unforgettable London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony.
The Wales Millennium Centre / Only Kids Aloud Chorus is kindly supported by SRK Consulting (UK) Ltd.