South Afric­an Op­era and Glob­al­isa­tion (1994–2022)




Thursday, 12th of May 2022

18:30 Panel Discussion about her Dance|Rap|Opera
The Nose (2021)

Friday, 13th of May 2022

10:00 Welcome and Introduction

10:15 Panel 1: Opera Productions in and outside of South Africa

Opera in Afrikaans, Again, or, Re-making a Genre in South Africa: The Cases of Poskantoor (2014) and Die Vertrek (2019)
DR. MELISSA G ERBER (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)

Emerging from the Forest: Cape Town Opera’s Pandemic Hänsel and Gretel
DR. ANDREW HOLDEN (Oxford Brookes University, UK) and

Introducing Bhekizizwe: Models and Approaches for Creating New Opera in South Africa and Beyond
DR. ROBERT FOKKENS (Cardiff University, UK)

12:00 Break

12:30 Panel 2: Mapping the Working Situation of South African Opera Singers

A Perspective of Young Opera Graduates on their Working Situation in South African Opera Industry
SAKHISENI JOSEPH YENDE M. A. (Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa)

Employment in the South African Opera Industry: In search of Constructive Models to Create Sustainable Job Opportunities for Opera Singers/Musicians
SETSOANE JEANNETTE NTSEKI B. A. (University of Cape Town, South Africa)

13:30 Panel 3: The South African Opera Voice in Discourse

Midas Touch Voice Teacher: The Making of International Opera Superstars in Post-Apartheid South Africa
PROF. DR. JOHANN BUIS (McGill University, Canada)

More Than Voices: An Analysis of Vocal Models in Operatic Tradition in Africa
JOSHUA TOLULOPE DAVID M. A. (University of Toronto, Canada)

14:30 Break

15:30 Panel 4: Developments of the South African Opera Landscape

The Gauteng Opera Scene 2012–2022: A Performer’s Perspective
DR. TINUS SPIE S (University of Pretoria)

The COVID-19 Pandemic and the Pre-Existing Precarity of South Africa’s Opera Scene
PROF. DR. LENA VAN DER HOVEN (Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities, University of Bern)

The Changing Appetites for Opera in Post-Apartheid South Africa
DR. DONATO SOMMA (Witwatersrand University, South Africa)

17:00 Final Discussion


Please register for the panel discussion on the 12th of May as well as for the symposium on the 13th of May by contacting and you will receive an email with the Zoom-link for the event.


The symposium is organised by Lena van der Hoven, professor for Music Theatre at the Institute of Musicology at the University of Bern. Lena van der Hoven was a member of the Young Academy since 2016 until February 2022.


Prof. Dr. Lena van der Hoven
University Bern