On Thursday 15 October the Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA’s) Great Texts / Big Questions lecturer is Angelo Gobbato, one of South Africa’s leading authorities on opera, who will discuss Beethoven’s Fidelio and selected Cape Town performances.
Angelo Gobbato is widely acknowledged as having helped opera to flourish in South Africa and garner international interest and recognition. Having begun his operatic career as a bass Gobbato went on to become a highly successful opera director, taking South African productions to appreciative audiences around the world. As Director of the UCT Opera School - from 1982 to 2008 - he spearheaded the transformation of opera, turning CAPAB’s Opera Department into Cape Town Opera, the first independent professional opera company in Southern Africa. His programmes have broken boundaries, bringing opera to the new audiences and fostering exceptional operatic talent.
Gobbato has received many awards; a Merit Award from the department of Arts, Culture and Heritage of the Western Cape in recognition of his outstanding achievement in and contribution to the performing Arts; the title "Cavaliere nell'ordine al merito della Repubblica Italiana" by the Italian Government; the Western Cape Premier’s Award for Special Contribution to the Cultural life of the Western Cape; the Khula Award for music and an Honorary Doctorate from UCT for his contribution to the transformation of the vocal arts in South Africa. Upon his retirement, UCT granted him the title of “Emeritus Professor”.
Fidelio, Beethoven’s only opera, reflects a struggle for political liberty and has relevance to the political history of South Africa. Gobbato’s modern-day production of Fidelio was set in Robben Island and tells the story of how Leonore, disguised as a prison guard named "Fidelio", rescues her husband Florestan from death in the political prison. This production introduced opera to South Africans that had never before been exposed to the art form.
The image used above is Ode to Changes by Ico Oliveira and is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial No Derivatives license.
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