This is Video of the Week from Wales Arts Review. We’ll be showcasing some of the best art in Wales with a new video shared every week. From music to drama and everything in between, videos will not be limited by medium. Today’s video is the trailer for Opera’r Ddraig’s Bhekizizwe, a new operatic monodrama.
Woman-led, Cardiff-based opera company Opera’r Ddraig will be taking its operatic monodrama on tour across Wales in the coming weeks. Written by South African-born composer Robert Fokkens and South African librettist Mkhululi Mabija ‘Bhekizizwe’ explores questions of identity, race, immigration, parenthood and culture through the eyes and experiences of a young South African Zulu man. The production traces the life of Bhekizizwe Shange, from his childhood during the last years of apartheid in South Africa to studies and unexpected fatherhood in the UK in the early 2000s. ‘Bhekizizwe’ draws on a range of musical and theatrical traditions – including traditional music and more recent styles from South Africa, British popular culture, and contemporary classical music – and features a bilingual libretto in English and Zulu.
Directed by British opera director Benjamin Davis and designed by Brad Caleb Lee, Bhekizizwe sees baritone Themba Mvula assuming multiple character roles as the story develops, moving from the past to the future.
Alongside the performances of Bhekizizwe, a programme of activities will be presented from October to December, funded by Cardiff University’s Innovation for All scheme. A series of 2-day creative workshops will be presented, led by Cardiff-based multi-instrumentalist and music creator Imran Khan. These will explore the themes of the piece through music from around the world and electronic media, and will be open to young people interested in developing their skills in creative music-making of all types and genres.
Bhekizizwe is touring in venues across Wales this November and December, including: Torch Theatre, Pembrokeshire (17th November), Aberystwyth Arts Centre, Aberystwyth (25th November), Theatr Clwyd, Mold (27th November) and Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff (7th December). Tickets available from venues.