Opera for Change Pilot Project 2012-13
The story so far...
In 2012-13, Opera for Change undertook a Pilot Project that involved driving from Nairobi to Cape Town to find local partners with whom to build a festival based around the Magic Flute. We held a fundraising launch event in London and with the support of a number of private donors and the British Council, we raised enough money to take 4 people on the road for 6 weeks. We travelled over 7000km and worked with many hundreds of children, singers, musicians, dancers, teachers, schools and communities. We gave concerts, master classes, workshops and auditioned singers and artists and came home with a series of local partners stretch over half a continent.
The journey was often grueling, occasionally dangerous, a little exhausting but always exciting. Our racing green Toyota Landcruiser, affectionately named “Kiboko” (Swahili for Hippo) proved not to be as trusty as we had hoped and it suffered a painful death poisoned by blackmarket diesel and chocking on thousands of miles of scorching red dust. Our artistic journey, however, was nothing short of plain sailing. We found abundant enthusiasm for our project everywhere we went. The organisations and individuals with whom we spent time were all keen to collaborate with us to create a festival of stories and songs. Each one showed us new ways in which we could tailor our project to bring maximum and lasting value to the specific people and communities that we visited. As we travelled further away from places like Covent Garden, we learned many new things about the potential power that Opera has to bring artists and communities together and to pave the way for lasting change.
Elizabeth Njoroge (soprano, teacher, organiser)
Levi Wataka (conductor, teacher, musician)
Zak Kariithi (bass-baritone)
National Youth Orchestra
Kenyan Conservatoire of Music
Tarompeta Dance Club
Tribe Hotel - Shamim Eshani
Loruvani Choir & their leader Hezron Abel Mashauri
Makumira University - Randy Stubbs (Head of Music)
School of St Jude
Bagamoyo College of Arts
Theatre for a Change
Ngoma Dolce Academy of Music - Moses Kaloama
David Slater (teacher)
Boyce Batlang (tenor)
Tsenolo Batshogile (soprano)
Gape Motswaledi (bass)
Sedibeng Choir - Andy Batshogile (conductor)
Hamburg, East Cape, South Africa
Keiskamma Music School
Johannesburg, South Africa
Nirox Foundation/Sculpture Park
Opera for Change is deeply grateful to the individuals and institutions who helped us make this Pilot Project possible.