Tag Archives: South Africa

Talking Life, Opera, and Moby-Dick with Musa Ngqungwana

Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg in Moby-Dick (2015); Photo: Craig T. Mathew

“By faith I shall learn this music and by faith I shall execute it.”

– Musa Ngqungwana

This past Saturday, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana made his LA Opera debut as Queequeg in Moby-Dick. With his sincere portrayal of this pivotal character, the South African born Ngqungwana adds another role to his list of operatic achievements that include being a Grand Finals Winner in the 2013 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, as well as playing Colline in La Boheme (Washington National Opera) and Zuniga in Carmen (Norwegian National Opera).

Musa Ngqungwana’s life has always been filled with music. Growing up in Port Elizabeth and later Cape Town, Ngqungwana’s culture was infused with music. There were songs sung at births, weddings, celebrations, songs sung at death, and even gender specific songs sung perhaps to a sweetheart. With the advent of Christian culture and dogma introduced by the British missionaries in early 20th Century South Africa, a huge choral movement swept through the nation and a slew of community choirs and plays opened up. By the time Ngqungwana was born, it had become customary to have community choirs and neighborhood plays. It was at middle school that a young Ngqungwana joined the choir to be close to a girl he loved at the time. While Ngqungwana says he “failed miserably” to win the girl’s affections, the choir stole his heart and he kept singing in the years to come.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLsbe8RfXEs

Musa Ngqungwana singing Riez, allez, riez du pauvre ideologue from Massenet’s Don Quichotte at WQXR presents The Metropolitan Opera National Council Award Winners

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