The Mandela Trilogy leaves Cape Town for Europe

The Mandela Trilogy was first produced when South Africa staged the football World Cup in 2010. Now the Cape Town Opera’s celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life has had its European premiere. The trilogy is made up of three iconic chapters in Mandela’s life. Writer and director, Michael Williams uses a different composer for each act.

The first act is about his tribal initiation rites and his realisation that although he has reached manhood, he is not a free man. Sophiatown in Johannesberg is the setting where the centre of black resistance to apartheid was at the time. In this act we hear traditional music from Alan Stephenson’s Qunu Oratorio.

In the second act we hear jazz and blues from Mike Campbell with an upbeat rhythm as we go from the Rivonia trial to Mandela’s imprisonment. Then we go ahead to his release, thirty-four years later, in the third act with Peter-Louis Van Dijk’s prologue and interval.

The main Mandela figure is played by Aubrey Lodewyk and he has a fine voice which gets across the inner strength and dignity of the man. It is a fine piece about the life of this great man. The conductor is Albert Horne with the Orchestra of the Welsh National Opera.