The project focuses on strengthening musical and social skills of underprivileged and special needs children with physical and /or intellectual disabilities. The general objective is to improve the lives of disadvantaged young South Africans, primarily in townships, low income and rural communities of Western Cape, who have an identified artistic talent or desire to include the arts in their lives. Opera cast in and rehearsals, musical performances will improve their opportunities to:
Receive quality training in singing and acting;
Empower their creative and artistic talent;
Strengthen their relational and social skills;
Become acquainted with an elite form of art;
Lay the foundation for a possible career in the opera.
Between January and June 2018, also with Alta Mane support, Cape Town Opera company allowed 18 special needs learners from the Lathi-tha Special Needs School to participate to a music and lyrics training, to cast in and rehearse the piece titled “Finding David”, an abridged version of the book of Athol Fugard, “Tsotsi”, narrating the “redemption” story of a gangster from a township in South-Africa. The performance, featured 3 times (March 15-16, and May 31st) at the Lathi-tha Special Needs School, suited the creative and artistic capabilities of the 18 learners, thus strengthening their self-esteem. In the same period of time, Cape Town Opera allowed 60 special needs students (deaf and dumb) from the Dominican School for the Deaf in Wynberg and the Noluthando School for the Deaf in Khayelitsha to attend “Tsotsi the Musical” at the Artscape Theater Center in Cape Town. In 2017, with the partial support of Alta Mane, Cape Town Opera company allowed 74 learners with special needs and physical and intellectual disabilities from the Karitas (Vredenburg) and Lathi-tha (Khayelitsha) Primary Schools to participate to a music and lyrics training, to cast in and rehearse the youth opera “The Singing Garden” (newly written by Francesco Nassimbeni), based loosely on the story of Alice in Wonderland; as well, allowed 15 learners from the Lathi-tha Special Needs School to attend a performance of “The Magic Flute” featured by Cape Town Opera, including sing language interpretation and audio description, performed at the Artscape Theater Center. Since the inception of the Program “Opera is my Firs Language” in July 2017, Cape Town Opera developed different music and lyrics trainings in 7 rural and marginalized primary and secondary school of the Western Cape Province, reaching a total of 236 students, out of which 117 are special needs students.