Skip Navigation LinksThe-Fairy-Queen--23---25-March-2012 The Fairy Queen :: 23 - 25 March 2012

The Fairy Queen :: 23 - 25 March 2012

If love is a sweet passion, why does it torment? 

A new kind of music theatre brings South Africans from a wide range of backgrounds with international stars for six performances this March. Join us for a musical journey into Shakespeare's world of midsummer magic and madness with Umculo| Cape Festivalʼs staging of “The Fairy Queen” (Henry Purcell).

The performances, 23-25 March  2012 at Johannesburgʼs UJ Arts Centre Theatre and 30 March-1 April at Cape Townʼs Joseph Stone Theatre, present Purcellʼs 1692 setting of Shakespeareʼs romantic comedy in an innovative staging.

Award-winning German director Robert Lehmeierʼs staging addresses themes of gender and identity in way that is playful, provocative and moving. Michael Maxwellʼs lighting and Thando Lobeseʼs costumes translate Shakespeareʼs tale into a contemporary setting of convention, cruelty, confusion, and transfiguration.

By making baroque opera with social goals, mentoring structures that extend from local communities to international opera stages, cutting-edge production values and a contemporary message, Umculo | Cape Festival takes a trend that has been growing across South African in recent years to a new level.

Umculo | Cape Festival, an international music organisation that supports lasting social change through music in South Africa, has partnered with the South African National Youth Orchestra Foundation and the Lucerne Festival Orchestra for this bold endeavour.

Pretoria-based Dutch conductor Gerben Grooten directs an orchestra made up of international instrumentalists and top young South African musicians, with harpsichordist John Coulter and a focus on historically informed performance practice. Instrumentalists include Stefano Pagliani, concertmaster of the orchestra of La Scala, Milan, and Oyvind Gimse, founder of the acclaimed Trondheim Soloists.

A dynamic young cast is lead by international star counter-tenor Derek Lee Ragin, most famous as one of the two voices on the sound-track for the film “Farinelli”. Ragin has sung at New Yorkʼs Metropolitan Opera, the Salzburg Festival, and Parisʼ Châtelet theatre.

Ragin joins South African singers including Zandile Gwebityala, Melissa Gerber and Charles Ainsley, with members of the Bloekomboos Secondary School Choir under Siyabulela Sulelo.

Tickets are available at Computicket. Prices range from R30 to R150 (Subsidies available for transport and tickets). Umculo's education team will offer free 3-hour interactive preparatory workshops for groups of up to 20 teenagers or adults.

The production is sponsored by the Hilti Foundation, the Goethe Institute, and private donors.

For further Press details please contact Nosipho Singiswa – Project Manager - Cell: 078 362 5203

E-mail:, Website:


Umculo | Cape Festival supports lasting social change through music in South Africa. Launched in 2010, the organisation staged Purcellʼs King Arthur in 2011, working with three schools from communities around Cape Town (Hlengisa Secondary School, Kensington High School and Bloekomboos Senior Secondary School), soloists from around the country, conductor Gerben Grooten and Director Robert Lehmeier. Performances were in Nyanga and Kensington.

Umculo | Cape Festival aims to support South Africa's musical life and present opera productions of international standards within a festival context. High school students from disadvantaged communities join university students, young professionals, and top international musicians from the UK, the USA, Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and Norway.

 For more background information about Umculo| Cape Festival please visit