Supporting Voices of South Africa

Kathleen Ferrier Winner launches world’s first online opera singing competition on Facebook


Press Release 24 June 2020

Over the next five weeks African singers will compete in an on-line singing competition which started today. It has been organised on Facebook by Voices of South Africa, an Anglo-South African opera organisation, which supports young singers from southern Africa.


Each of the four voice types will compete in a heat culminating each week on Sunday with a final to choose the best voice. Over the past week 43 tenors have submitted one minute videos of their chosen arias. Twenty one of them have now been selected to submit videos of complete arias from which ten entrants will be chosen to take part in the tenor finals at 4pm BST on Sunday. There will be a grand final of all voice types in five weeks’ time.


All the entries can be viewed on the “Voices of South Africa Opera International Singing Competition” Facebook page at and the finals will be “broadcast“ live on this Facebook page each  Sunday. In the first hour of the launch today the page received over 1,000 views.


South African baritone Njabulo  Madlala is the 2010 winner of the Kathleen Ferrier prize and in the same year was a winner of Les Azuriales Opera’s singing competition. He founded Voices of Africa in 2013 based on his experience of taking part in Les Azuriales’ Young Artist Programme. Subsequently the two organisations have worked together to bring many southern African singers to the UK and elsewhere in Europe. Their opportunities have included attending the UK’s conservatoires, taking part in the ENO’s Porgy & Bess and participating in the Royal Opera’s Jette Parker Young Artists programme as well as other young artist programmes in Europe.


Commenting on the competition Njabulo Madlala says “I want to showcase the tremendous African operatic talent and what better place to do it in what, I believe, is the first opera singing competition that has ever taken place on Facebook. Also in South Africa at the current time there is a desperate need to keep the singers and their music alive. This is what we are providing. All the finalists of each voice type will receive enough money to buy a month’s food.“


Sarah Holford, president of Les Azuriales Opera, says: “This is a wonderful opportunity being provided by Voices of South Africa, which we are delighted to support. Indeed we have been involved with Njabulo right from the start. We have always been impressed by the musicality and quality of southern African voices, which has been borne out by our joint success in bringing singers to Europe.”


For Further Information contact:


Voices of Africa: Njabulo Madlala

Les Azuriales Opera: Sarah Holford





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