Wales Millennium Centre will be presenting the first UK and Ireland tour of Cape Town Opera’s highly acclaimed production of Show Boat this July. The show will visit Birmingham Hippodrome (2-5 July); The Lowry, Manchester (8-12 July); Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff (22-26 July) and Dublin’s Bord Gais Energy Theatre (29 July – 2 Aug). 10 Feb 2014
Wales Millennium Centre announces UK première and tour of Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat
Photo: Malin Arnesson
Cape Town Opera is Africa's premier opera company. Its soloists and chorus have won the acclaim of critics and audience members around the globe including the award for Best International Opera Chorus at the 2013 International Opera Awards.
Show Boat is the perfect showcase for the talented voices of Cape Town Opera – many of whom have visited the UK on previous tours of Porgy & Bess and Mandela Trilogy. Based on the novel by Edna Ferber, Show Boat is one of the first American musicals ever written. Created in 1927 with music by Jerome Kern and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II, it tells the story from the old American South, rich with nostalgia, humour, love stories and well loved melodies such as Ol’ Man River and Can’t Help Lovin Dat Man. The story follows the lives of the performers, stagehands, and dock workers on the Cotton Blossom, a Mississippi River Show Boat, over a forty year period from 1887 to 1927. As a production Show Boat, which premiered on Broadway in 1927, has all the glamour and flourish of a big family musical but with a story that highlights the real life of people at that time, including the racial tensions that they faced. The rarely performed production reflects the situation of South Africa’s past whilst highlighting through Cape Town Opera’s talents, the bright future ahead.
The UK première and tour of Cape Town Opera’s production will feature over two hundred period costumes which span the forty years featured in the musical from bustles and wigs to flapper dresses. The set design will feature the talents of internationally renowned Johan Engels, who has worked with major theatre and opera companies across the world, including the RSC, Royal Opera House, Houston Opera, Chicago Lyric Opera, as well as Welsh National Opera (WNO). The production is under the direction of the award -winning Janice Honeyman. The company will be joined by the 30 – strong, Cape Philharmonic Orchestra.
Cape Town Opera’s Show Boat has previously enjoyed a successful season in Africa and Europe and this tour is an extension of Wales Millennium Centre’s strategic partnership with Cape Town Opera.
Mathew Milson, Managing Director, Wales Millennium Centre said, "I am delighted that we are able to enhance our excellent, longstanding partnership with Cape Town Opera - one of the world’s foremost opera companies., and work with our network of theatres in the UK and Ireland to make this amazing tour happen.
Michael Williams, Managing Director, Cape Town Opera said, ""We are thrilled to bring Cape Town Opera's production of Show Boat to the UK for the very first time, with an exceptional cast, our award winning chorus and joined by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. This first UK visit of this production will showcase the talents of the company whilst offering a wonderful spectacle and experience for all the family, featuring the design of Johan Engels and under the special direction of Janice Honeyman."
As strategic partners working together to strengthen cultural links between Wales and South Africa, Cape Town Opera’s collaborative projects with Wales Millennium Centre are part of a growing legacy of South African businessman and philanthropist Sir Donald Gordon, after whom the main auditorium at Wales Millennium Centre is named.