Pumeza Matshikiza – Biography
Lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza, described as “one of today’s most exciting new operatic voices” (Independent), is at the forefront of a group of emerging opera stars from South Africa. An exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, Matshikiza’s debut album on the label will be released in 2014.
For the past two seasons Matshikiza has been a member of the ensemble at the Stuttgart State Opera. Recent roles include Nanetta (Falstaff), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte). Highlights this season include Mimì in a new production of La Bohème for Stuttgart State Opera, a role debut, Dido in Dido and Aeneas with the English Concert Orchestra at the Bristol Old Vic as part of the Bristol Proms series, two concerts with the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in Denmark and an appearance at the BBC Proms in the Park.
Next season, Matshikiza will perform a European tour with tenor Rolando Villazón, make her debut with the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra, perform a World Premiere with the BBC Symphony Orchestra at the Barbican and make her debut at Teatro alla Scala in Milan.
Matshikiza studied at the University of Cape Town College of Music under Professor Virginia Davids before continuing her studies at the Royal College of Music under the tutelage of Michel Vallat as a Peter Moores, Pidem, and Derek Butler Trust Scholar. Roles at the RCM include Mařenka (The Bartered Bride), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Conçeption (L’heure espagnole), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro). Matshikiza also participated in masterclasses with artists such as Philip Langridge, Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Renata Scotto, Joan Rogers, Paul Farrington and Ileana Cotrubaş and has also worked with accompanists Malcolm Martineau and Simon Lepper.
Matshikiza then became a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House for the 2007/8 and 2008/9 seasons, making her house debut singing the role of Flower maiden in Wagner’s Parsifal. Whilst here, she also sung the roles of Slave (Salome), Innocent (The Minotaur), Tebaldo (Don Carlos), Witch (Dido and Aeneas) and Sandman (Hänsel und Gretel). In January 2010 Matshikiza won First Prize in the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition and became an Associate Artist of the Classical Opera Company, singing the title role in Zaide for which she won the Patrick Fyffe-Dame Hilda Brackett prize.