Opera soloist reveals her wacky pre-show ritual

Siphokazi Maphumulo is one of the leading soloists for La Bohome a world renowned Italian Opera which forms part of the Playhouse Company's famed South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF)

FROM brushing their teeth to napping in their favorite blanket before going on stage, performing artists are known to have outrageous and wacky pre-show rituals. They claim it helps to ease the nerves before they go on stage.

Well…for up-and-coming soprano, Siphokazi Maphumulo, holding back a full bladder during a performance keeps her focused and on the edge. Maphumulo is one of the leading soloists for La Bohome, a world-renowned Italian Opera which forms part of the Playhouse Company’s famed South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF).

“Before every performance, I make sure I drink lots of water before going on stage. I find that the urge to pee makes me more focused and keeps me on the edge. If I go before a performance, my body just relaxes and I know that things won’t go right. I am enjoying my role and people are o going to enjoy the show,” said the 24-year-old artist, who is a valued member of the Clermont Choir Foundation.

La Bohème is an opera in four acts composed by Giacomo Puccini to an Italian libretto by Luigi Illica and Giuseppe Giacosa, based on Scènes de la vie de bohème by Henri Murger. The world premiere performance of La Bohème was in Turin on 1 February 1896 at the Teatro Regio. Since then, La Bohème has become part of the standard Italian opera repertory and is one of the most frequently performed operas worldwide.

Siphokazi Maphumulo is one of the leading soloists for La Bohome a world renowned Italian Opera which forms part of the Playhouse Company’s famed South African Women’s Arts Festival (SAWAF).

Regarded as true trailblazer for young women in the Arts and respected for her operatic talent. Maphumulo who also holds an honours degree in Industrial Psychology from the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN), has been part of the Playhouse Chorale for five years, performing in The Messiah and other Playhouse productions. Her performing abilities started to blossom in 2009 when she represented KZN in the South African Schools’ Choral Eisteddfod (SASCE) in four pieces under the opera section.

“As much as I want to pursue my singing career, I also have a job as an office manager at the Mayor’s Foundation, but I do not see myself quitting my job. Having said that, I also do not see myself not grabbing all these opportunities because of my job. I believe that when opportunity comes, it must find you ready. It all boils down to time management, with opera you learn that it is not only about having a great voice, but being versatile and professional is key,” she said.

Despite the widely held opinion that we do not have enough opera stage plays in local languages making inroads to the mainstream market. Sibiya however begs to differ with this notion and says we do have opera in local languages, the problem is to market them properly. “The talent is there and people are writing more in their mother tongue and its local content, we just promoters to take it to the people,” said Maphumulo

“My parents have played a huge role in what I have achieved, they have been very supportive. I am a young mother and would like to say to the other young mothers out there that they must not allow their situations to define them,” she said.


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Rudy Nkgadima

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