Classical music needs more support

Tanya Steenkamp

World-class soprano Magdalene Minnaar has called on supporters of classical music and theatre to continue to support the arts to ensure artists survive and art forms continue to grow.

Minnaar, who performed in two shows at the Woordfees, said if people want to continue to enjoy classical shows they needed to support such productions. Minnaar was involved in a further two productions with her company, Biblioteek Produksies,

She feels particularly strong about promoting classical theatre and music among younger generations.

“Our audiences need a wakeup call. They need to realise that if they want to continue seeing beautiful art they must actually start supporting the arts.”

She said the theatre industry in South Africa is in a very fragile state.

“The arts festivals are all struggling. And people keep putting on huge festivals at the expense of the artist.”

She said people are buying fewer tickets due to tough economic times and therefore are less inclined to try new shows. As a result, audiences are becoming very small and productions become unprofitable.

She would prefer festivals to have fewer shows and fuller audiences, instead of the too many empty seats.

The lack of funding is also an issue facing classical productions.

“Funding plays a big role. Cape Town Opera now only does three big productions a year where before they did eight.”

While she sees the value the Woordfees contributes to classical theatre saying it is, “the best classical offering of the remaining festivals,” she feels that more can still be done to support artists.

Minnaar started her company, Biblioteek Produksies, in 2010 as a means to create fresh musical productions, instead of rehashing older productions.



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