Christine Bam


Christine Bam (30) holds a BMus degree (Performance) cum laude from Stellenbosch University. She is the first receiver of the prestigious Rupert Scholarship, member of the Golden Key Society for Academic Excellence and winner of the Mabel Quick bursary competition.

Bam joined the Cape Town Opera Chorus as permanent member in 2018. Operas, concerts, and tours include Grace Notes (Europe), Porgy and Bess (South Korea), Maria Stuarda, I Capuleti e i Montecchi, Orphée et Eurydice, Porgy and Bess Suite (Frankfurt), African Angels (Germany and Netherlands), La Bohème, understudy for the role of Dorabella (UCT/CTO collaboration) of Cosí fan tutte, The Pearl Fishers, Monteverdi’s Vespers, CTOC Spirituals, La Rondine, ICONS, The Messiah and Le nozze di Figaro.

In 2022 she was awarded the 2nd place and the Audience Prize at the Aviva Pelham Operetta Competition, was chosen as a Young Artist at The Songmakers’ Guild, won the 2nd prize in the Neues Lied Art Song Duo competition, and was runner-up at the Fine Music Radio Bursary competition. Bam sang the role of Anna Staal in Sara Baartman – the Opera and of Bradamante in Alcina at the Artscape Theatre in November.

She is currently in her second year of postgraduate studies at the University of Cape Town Opera School, under the guidance of Violina Anguelov-Hobbs and Maestro Jeremy Silver.

Minette du Toit-Pearce

Committee Member

Minette du Toit-Pearce began her vocal training under the tutelage of Dr. Magdalena Oosthuizen at Stellenbosch University, graduating with BMus, BMus (Hons) and MMus degrees. She also holds a Teacher’s and Performance Licentiate from UNISA. She was the winner of the UNISA Overseas Scholarship, overall winner of the ATKV Musiq competition and first runner up in the SAMRO International Singing Scholarship Competition She was also a finalist in the Kohn Foundation Wigmore Hall International Song Competition in London and a finalist in the American Institute of Musical Studies’ (AIMS) Meistersinger Competition in Graz. Minette regularly performs as a soloist in oratorios and recitals and is an accomplished singer of lieder both locally and abroad. She has performed with all major orchestras in South Africa and made her American debut as soloist with the Minnesota Orchestra in Minneapolis in 2018. Her most recent international engagements were in France and Germany in 2022. She is the head of the Singing Division at Stellenbosch University and holds the position of Senior Lecturer in Singing.

Esthea Kruger

Artistic Director

Esthea Kruger, piano lecturer at the South African College of Music since 2019, obtained her BMus and MMus (Piano Performance) degrees at Stellenbosch University under the guidance of Prof. Nina Schumann and Prof. Luis Magalhães, her Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Piano Performance at the University of North Texas under the tutelage of Prof. Vladimir Viardo, and her Meisterklassendiplom at the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg in the class of Prof. Bernd Glemser. Additionally, she specialised in Art Song Accompaniment, obtaining a second master’s degree in 2019 in Liedgestaltung from the Hochschule für Musik Würzburg as student of Prof. Gerold Huber.

Esthea Kruger has won prizes at many major competitions in South Africa, such as the SAMRO Overseas Scholarships Competition, the ATKV-Muziq Competition, the FMR/Pick ‘n Pay Travel Award Competition, the Stonehage Bursary Competition, the Mabel Quick Overseas Scholarship Competition and the UNISA National Piano Competition. In 2009, she became the first music student to receive Stellenbosch University’s Chancellor’s Medal.

Apart from her solo performances, Esthea Kruger regularly appears in concert as accompanist and chamber musician, in South Africa and abroad. In 2018 she performed at the DAVOS FESTIVAL in Switzerland.

Esthea Kruger is the founder and artistic director of “Neues Lied”, a festival for contemporary art song that she has organised yearly in Germany since 2018 and established in Cape Town in 2022. In 2020, the festival was awarded the City of Würzburg’s Culture Prize. She was also appointed as the artistic director of The Songmakers’ Guild in 2022.

Magdalene Minnaar

Committee Member

Magdalene Minnaar is a celebrated South African soprano, director and producer well-known in the music industry locally and abroad for setting new trends and challenging conventional boundaries.

As a well-versed scholar in Classical music, studying in South Africa and abroad, Magdalene founded Biblioteek Productions in 2010, providing a platform for artists and theatre makers to collaborate on Classical music productions. Biblioteek Productions enabled her to successfully commission a large body of new South African works for various ensembles, including several new operas.

Magdalene has been creating innovative musical and theatrical experiences since 2001. Works directed by her include L’Elisir D’Amore and Le Nozze di Figaro (Cape Town Opera), La Bohème (Cape Town Opera, Innibos Festival), Die Zauberflöte (Johannesburg International Mozart Festival), Bastien und Bastienne (Gauteng Opera) and Calling Us Home (Shy Music).

As soprano Magdalene has sung over 30 operatic roles, as well as the female leads in Phantom of the Opera and Show Boat. She is a frequent soloist in performances of concerts and oratorios, notably Händel’s Messiah, Carmina Burana (Orff) and Mozart’s Requiem.

Magdalene is very passionate about early childhood development and has developed a comprehensive new music and movement program for ages 0-7, called Clever Classical Kids. She has also compiled and presented several workshops and lectures about her philosophy “The Art of Being a Cockroach – How Not To be A Starving Artist”.

She currently holds the position of Artistic Director at Cape Town Opera and is also on the board of the Songmakers’ Guild of South Africa.

Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi

Committee Member

A native from KwaZulu-Natal and residing in Cape Town, soprano Hlengiwe Mkhwanazi is an alumni of the prestigious Ryan Opera Center at the Lyric Opera of Chicago. She obtained her postgraduate diploma in music performance in 2012 from the University of Cape Town. The soprano’s success in competitions include her homeland’s SAMRO International Singing Scholarship (second prize), ATKV Musicanto National Singing Competition (first prize), Hans Gabor Belvedere International Singing Competition (second prize overall, media jury prize and audience prize) as well as the Luminarts Cultural women’s voice competition (first prize). Her roles in Cape Town include Fiordiligi in Così fan tutte by Mozart, Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann by Offenbach, Anne Truelove in The Rake’s Progress by Stravinsky and Madama Cortese in Il viaggio a Reims by Rossini (all at the Baxter Theatre).

Hlengiwe made her Chicago debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as Therese in Poulenc’s opera Les Mamelles de Tirésias. In 2014 she made her debut with the Lyric Opera of Chicago as Clara in Porgy&Bess by Gershwin. Her other roles at the Lyric Opera of Chicago include Barbarina in Le Nozze di Figaro by Mozart and Clotilde in Bellini’s Norma. Hlengiwe made her Grant Park Music Festival debut in Chicago singing Mozart’s Mass in C-minor. She has performed in many festivals including the Harare International Festival for the Arts (HIFA) in 2018.

Hlengiwe’s recent performances include appearing as a guest artist with the Cape Town City Ballet, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and Cape Town Opera as Euridice in 2019. In 2021 she performed with the Baroque 2000. She has worked with the Third World Bunfight as a soloist and she is a regular performer in the Songmakers’ Guild concerts. She has performed with Maestro Cock in concerts and has sung in many sacred works including Handel’s Messiah, Brahms’ Requiem and also as a soloist in the Starlight Classics. She performs regularly with the Cape Town Baroque Orchestra and has recently performed Rossini’s Stabat Mater with the Symphony Choir of Johannesburg.

Christon Southgate

Assistant organiser

Christon Southgate is a 22-year-old soprano from Brackenfell, Cape Town. Music has been a prominent part of her upbringing starting music lessons with Christine Bam, Christopher Vale, and Lunathi Ncamani. In 2019, Christon enrolled for the Certificate Programme in Music at Stellenbosch University, completing the Advanced Certificate in Music (Cum Laude). She was also nominated for the prestigious ATKV Albert Engel Bursary.

In 2020 she furthered her studies, enrolling for the Diploma in Performance, specialising in Vocal Performance at Stellenbosch University under the tutelage of Lauren Dasappa. During her studies, Christon performed in various productions of the Voice Division at Stellenbosch University such as Finally Mozart, the Opera Collage, Masquerade to name but a few.

She also completed a 2-year course in choral conducting under the tutelage of Dr Martin Berger and was a member of the academic choir, Schola Cantorum. Southgate was runner up for the Vocal Prize in the 2022 Mabel Quick Bursary Competition at Stellenbosch University. She recently graduated with a Diploma in performance, specialising in vocal performance.