Winnie Mandela opera premieres in South Africa in April

An opera about the life of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, activist and ex-wife of former South African president Nelson Mandela will premiere in Pretoria, South Africa this April 28th.

The opera will feature a 60-piece orchestra performing western and traditional African music, while the lyrics will combine both the English and Xhosa languages. It is believed to be the first opera fully composed and orchestrated in the country.

However, this isn’t the first opera about Mrs. Mandikizela-Mandela’s life. Three years ago, a Toronto theatre company produced the opera, The Passion of Winnie. Canada denied Mrs. Mandikizela-Mandela a visa application to visit and see it.

The new show combines the same team of South African-born composer and musician Bongani Ndodana-Breen and filmmaker Warren Wilensky. The cast will be revealed this month.

First coming to public attention in 1964 when her then husband Mr Mandela was sentenced to life imprisonment, Winnie Mandela has often been a figure of interest, for her freedom fighting and activism to her being shrouded in accusations of corruption and other controversies.

Last year year, the BBC screened a dramatisation of her life, starring Oscar-nominee Sophie Okonedo in the main role, and Jennifer Hudson plays Mrs. Mandikizela-Mandela a upcoming film, Winnie, due for release next year [watch the trailer].

via BBC