On Stage: Mandela Trilogy, Wales Millennium Centre

The world of opera can be a very distant genre for those of us who have little experience of it. However, Mandela Trilogy, a tribute to South African anti-apartheid revolutionary, politician, and philanthropist, Nelson Mandela, breaks down any preconceptions anyone may have of the operatic genre .
The production sees Mandela portrayed brilliantly by three actors, Peace Nzirawa, Aubrey Lodewyk and Thato Machona, covering the different phases of his life, from tribal initiation rites on the banks of the Mbashe River, through the rebellious jazz-fuelled days in Sophiatown, to incarceration and reflection on Robben Island, then ultimately to freedom.  
Michael Williams’ script is fresh, relevant, historical and informative, never portraying Mandela as a saint, instead showing his development through trial, tribulation and his own failings into a respectable cultural icon.   
Meanwhile, the ensemble cast and orchestra of over 60 South African performers, breathe energetic life into a rich musical soundtrack by Peter Louis van Dijk and Mike Campbell, providing an atmospheric, meticulously researched backdrop to the story.
Whereas a tribal initiation may seem somewhat alien to many of us, the dance sequences draw in the audience and are particularly captivating. The Trilogy is brought further to life in the Sophiatown section with jazz-fuelled numbers and outstanding vocal performances from Peace Nzirawa’s Mandela joined by Candida Mosoma as Dolly, Pumza Mxinwa as Evelyn and Philsa Sibek as Winnie.

  • Mandela Trilogy continues at Wales Millennium Centre until August 27 before embarking on a tour. For more information and to book tickets visit www.wmc.org.uk or call 029 2063 6464. 
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