Tom Service finds out about two exciting recent musical developments in South Africa. He talks to Pauline Malefane and Mark Dornford-May, star and director of a new film of Bizet's Carmen set in Pauline's home township of Khayelitsha, Cape Town. And at OSCA, the opera course at the University of Natal in Durban, Martin Handley hears that "black singers are the singers of the future", in the amazing voices of the people of KwaZulu-Natal.
In this programme
As London prepares for a Russian invasion (of the baton wielding sort) Tom Service speaks to newly appointed Principal Conductor of the LPO Vladimir Jurowski. As well as his feelings on taking over from incumbent Principal Kurt Masur, he talks to Tom about Glyndebourne Opera, the Russian National Orchestra and his unique mixture of Russian and German cultures.
Martin Handley reports from the Opera School and Choral Academy at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in Durban , South Africa . In a country with a rich choral tradition he meets some of the teachers and pupils and finds out why there's been an explosion of interest in opera amongst young black South Africans. And why this immense local talent has an inborn something or other which gives them the potential to be the opera stars of tomorrow.
Sometime pornographer and numismatist George Bataille described himself as the "old enemy from within" - a thorn in the side of Andre Breton and orthodox Surrealism. New exhibition Undercover Surrealism at the Hayward takes a fresh look at the Surrealist movement through the eyes of Bataille and his publication Documents - which in the late 1920's was at the forefront of re-evaluating the way that Europe looked at Jazz, black music and Africa. Tom speaks to exhibition co-curator Simon Baker and musician and ethnomusicologist Crispin Robinson.
Undercover Surrealism - runs from 11th May - 30th July 2006 at the Hayward Gallery , London
U-Carmen eKhayelitsha is a feature film sung and spoken in Xhosa, one of South Africa 's eleven official languages. Based on Bizet's opera Carmen, U-Carmen eKhayelitsha was shot in April/May 2004 in the township of Khayelitsha, near Cape Town, home to half a million people. Tom talks to the film's star Pauline Malefane who grew up in Khayelitsha, and director Mark Dornford-May about what singing and directing Carmen meant to them, and what it has to say about contemporary South Africa .
U-Carmen eKhayelitsha is showing now at selected cinemas across the UK .