mon 16/12/2019

Singing for Life, BBC Four/ Gazza's Tears, ITV1 | reviews, news & interviews

Singing for Life, BBC Four/ Gazza's Tears, ITV1

Singing for Life, BBC Four/ Gazza's Tears, ITV1

Gifted young South Africans try to sing their way out of the township

Township chorister goes it alone: Thami, 18, at an operatic audition
I once sat in a rehearsal room in a brick-box theatre on the outskirts of Cape Town. The cast was warming up for Carmen. First, the choreographer put 40 mostly black South African singers through a gruelling physical warm-up. Opera singers are rarely slender, and they were all in a muck sweat by the time the vocal coach stepped forward to lead them through a vocal warm-up. But when they opened their mouths it was as if someone has strapped you to a chair in a wind tunnel. The noise was transforming, majestic, all-powerful. So I knew roughly what sound to expect in Singing for Life, a documentary about the miscegenation of the black township choral tradition and the white man’s most exclusive art form, opera.

Add comment

Subscribe to

Thank you for continuing to read our work on For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a gift subscription?


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters