Pretoria Opera Group

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The Pretoria Opera Group (in Afrikaans, Pretoriase Operagroep)


In Pretoria, the interest in opera blossomed as an increasing number of professional singers found themselves in the city. The Pretoriase Operagroep (Pretoria Opera Group), which worked with the amateurs of the Pretoria Operatic and Dramatic Society, staged a number of operas, also Afrikaans operas, and were able to import singers – including South Africans singing abroad – for the 1960 Union Festival. For them, local training of young singers had also become essential, and the group formed what was called the Opera Workshop. The purpose of the workshop was to train young singers and provide practical stage experience.


The Pretoria Opera Group performed mostly nineteenth-century operas such as Leoncavallo’s I pagliacci, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, Donizetti’s Lucia di Lammermoor, as well as Bizet’s Carmen. The group performed these operas alternatively in Afrikaans and English.

1956: Carmen (concert version)

1957: I pagliacci

1958: Die nuwe Dominee

1960: Madama Butterfly (in English); Lilac Time

1961: Lucia di Lammermoor

1962: Carmen

1963: Der Wildschütz (in Afrikaans as Die Wilddief)


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 Unpublished PhD thesis.

Alexandra Xenia Sabina Mossolow. 2003. The career of South African soprano Nellie du Toit, born 1929. Unpublished Masters thesis. University of Stellenbosch.

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