Out of time, composed by Péter Louis van Dijk and directed by Geoffrey Hyland, is a brief journey by ‘Black Taxi’ through prejudice, miscommunication, greed and xenophobia.

Saartjie, composed by Hendrik Hofmeyer and Fiona Herbst and directed by Geoffrey Hyland, imagines Saartjie Baartman in Paris on New Year’s Eve, 1815.

Tronkvoël, composed by Martin Watt with librettist Alwyn Roux and directed by Marcus Desando, is inspired by an event that occurred during the imprisonment of South African poet, painter and freedom fighter Breyten Breytenbach.

Words from a broken string, with music by Peter Klatzow, libretto by Michael Williams and directed by Geoffrey Hyland, tells the story of Lucy Lloyd, the nineteenth century linguist, who with her brother-in-law Wilhelm Bleek recorded the now extinct language of the San Bushmen.

(Prof Geoffrey Hyland directing the cast of Words from a broken string with conductor Prof Kamal Kahn. All photographs courtesy CTO)

Hani, composed by Bongani Ndondana-Breen, with a libretto by Mfundi Vundla, tells of the assassination of Chris Hani in 1993.

"Five: 20 hopes to entice new audiences into theatres to see opera in short bites – musical sandwiches rather than a full course. It is an opportunity to extend the reach of African-made music and give a taste of the work of five seasoned South African composers and adept storytellers. It takes tremendous discipline to put these elements together to form a cogent work within 20 minutes," said Michael Williams, Cape Town Opera Managing Director.

In addition to the five South African operas there will be a 'special guest appearance' of Scottish Opera’s Sublimation, a 15 minute opera by Nick Fell. It was Scottish Opera’s Five: 15 project that inspired Cape Town Opera to develop Five: 20 in celebration of SACM’s centenary year. In 2011 Scottish Opera will stage one of the Five: 20 operas.



Five: 20 was made possible by a grant from the National Lottery Distribution Trust Fund and UCT’s Gordon Institute for Performing and Creative Arts (GIPCA).

For more information visit:

the GIPCA website or the CTO website or e-mail GIPCA.



(all photographs courtesy CTO)