Opera Society of South Africa

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The Opera Society of South Africa (Operavereniging van Suid-Afrika).


Founded by conductor Anton Hartman and “a group of leading figures” in Johannesburg as an Afrikaans counterpart to the National Opera Association of South Africa on 29 October 1956.


The aim of the society was “to strive for the development of opera and related art forms, especially in Afrikaans”, aiming to popularise opera among white Afrikaans-speakers. Operas were performed in the original language, as well as in Afrikaans. In this way, the Opera Society aimed to establish an “own opera art form” and give local singers opportunities to perform. At the time, there had been great interest from the Afrikaans public in performances in Afrikaans.

OPSA organised concert tours of extracts from operas to various towns such as Rustenburg, Alberton and Ontdekkers. OPSA received generous sponsorship from government and the future for a State Opera was envisioned.


The National Opera Association of South Africa merged with the Opera Society of South Africa to become the South African Opera Federation in 1958.


The Opera Society committed to producing at least one opera in Afrikaans each year. Among the translated works were Puccini’s La bohème and Madama Butterfly, Mozart’s Cosí fan tutte and Die Entführung aus dem Serail, and Smetana’s The Bartered Bride.


Percy Tucker, 1997

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 Unpublished PhD thesis.

Antoinette Johanna Olivier. 2014. 'Exploring contributions to opera by The Black Tie Ensemble: a historical case study'. Mini-dissertation submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree Master‟s in Music at the Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University.

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