- Renier’s master classes and concert

16 August 2010

International tenor Michael Renier is back in South Africa, to present master classes and evoke music’s golden age during a one-off concert.

South African-born Renier - who is now based in England - has been singing on Europe’s most prestigious stages for the past 37 years. He has built up an impressive repertoire of more than 70 roles, including more than 100 performances as Rodolfo in La Bohème. Renier will be visiting his home country for three months from August, to sing in a handful of concerts in Gauteng and the Eastern Cape and to conduct a series of master classes for solo singers.

Explains Renier, who also teaches singing in Europe: “In the 37 years I have been standing on stage, I have sung most of the tenor roles I always dreamt about, but of course I missed a few… However, I now want to teach more and travel less from opera house to opera house.” The first of these voice master classes, coordinated by Hannie Hefer Promotions, will take place on 29 and 30 August 2010 in Johannesburg at The Greenside, in Chester Road, Greenside East. Professional classical singers as well as young adults and students who are just starting out in the industry are invited to attend, with observers welcome.

Renier will take participants through their opera arias and repertoire, while dealing with aspects such as phrasing, content and technique. He will also be giving master classes in Pretoria, at the Pierneef Theatre in Mogg Street, Villeria, on 26 and 27 September. The closing date for enquiries for the Johannesburg master classes is 13 August, and 20 August for the Pretoria classes. Call +27 (0)11 793 2334 or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) to find out more and obtain entry forms for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with a true international master.

Gauteng audiences will also be treated to an exclusive performance by Renier in the concert Sing-sing en droom-droom deur die lewe (Singing and dreaming through life), which will take place at the Pierneef Theatre in Villieria, Pretoria on Sunday, 19 September at 3pm. As the show’s title implies, this will be a dreamy journey back in time, featuring music made famous by tenors over the years - including songs that made a distinct impression on Renier as a young boy, no doubt helping to forge his enduring passion for singing. Incidentally, the theatre is situated on the grounds of Hendrik Verwoerd High School, where Renier matriculated in 1963.

Audiences can look forward to much-loved numbers made famous by the likes of Josef Schmidt, Beniamino Gigli, John McCormack and Mario Lanza, interspersed with the occasional operetta and opera aria.

The concert’s title - Sing-sing en droom-droom deur die lewe - is also the title of Renier’s recently published autobiography, which will be available to purchase at the concert. This book arose from notes he had made on writing pads in hotel rooms across the world, when, bored with staring at the television, he started jotting down observations and experiences from the opera world. A friend was so impressed by the tenor’s random scribblings that he took the 100 handwritten pages to a publisher, who persuaded Renier to complete this Afrikaans memoir. The result is fascinating reading, drawing on insights gleaned from his decades of singing in opera houses all over the world - 34 at the last count.

He recently sang in his 100th premier production - the Italian Tenor in Der Rosenkavalier in Malmö, Sweden - and says his favourite role is the title character in Verdi’s Otello, which he has sung 88 times to date. Booked well into 2012, Renier is returning to Europe to sing the title role in Puccini’s Edgar in the Czech Republic in November 2010, following his three-month South African sojourn. He and his wife live in England, but he also keeps small apartments in Germany and the Czech Republic - “so that I don’t have to take my whole house with me every time I move!” They have two married daughters.

Tickets for the concert at the Pierneef Theatre on 19 September cost between R50 and R70, and are available by phoning 012 329 0709.

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