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Klutaimnestra is a full length, Afrikaans opera in four acts with music and libretto by Cromwell Everson (1925–1991)

The original text

Said to be the first Afrikaans opera. Based on a classic Greek figure of Clytemnestra.

The opera conveys Afrikaner sentiments of oppression by the British. It has has three central themes or characteristics: first, it portrays women and children in concentration camps; second, the oppression of a powerful nation; and third, the oppressed nation’s rise to power. Written in Afrikaans to “uplift” Afrikaans to a language equal to that of Western European languages used in opera.

The whole work is based on a twelve-tone motive and makes use of a contrapuntal spreekkoor ("speaking choir").

Translations and adaptations

Performance history in South Africa

1967: First performed at the Biesenbach Hall in Worcester.

Performed by the UCT Opera Company.


Wayne Muller. 2018. A reception history of opera in Cape Town: Tracing the development of a distinctly South African operatic aesthetic (1985–2015). Unpublished PhD thesis.

"Everson, Cromwell". University of Pretoria. https://www.up.ac.za/sacomposers/article/2755748/everson-cromwell-

"Cromwell Everson". https://profilpelajar.com/article/Cromwell_Everson

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