MTN gives voice to muted opera group
Last edited: March 02, 2012
Posted by Business and Arts South Africa
A R2 million cash injection from MTN will keep the Black Tie Ensemble (BTE) on stage.
Financial difficulties threatened to mute the Pretoria based opera and classical music group early this year, after its sponsorships dried up.
The ensemble is a non-profit group, fully dependent on donations and sponsorships.
â€œBy supporting this initiative, MTN is ploughing back to its communities, while also contributing to the ongoing efforts to develop and promote this genre of music to the wider public,â€ says Paul Norman, Group Chief Human Resources and Corporate Affairs Officer for the MTN Group.
The MTN sponsorship will enable the group to host four concerts in Johannesburg this year. These are: the FortÃ©: Power of the Voice on 21 March, the Verdi Opera Gala on June 15, the One Voice: An African Celebration on 27 September and the Annual Christmas concert on 30 November.
The concert on 21 March, which is a celebration of Human Rights Day, will feature Graham Scott, an internationally acclaimed conductor, and the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra (JPO). The concert will take place at the Linder Auditorium in Parktown, Johannesburg.
Two of the other concerts are also linked to South African national days: Youth Day and Heritage Day. The last performance will be a Christmas concert.
â€œWe are grateful to MTN for resuscitating the Ensemble, just when we thought our hour of death was near. Support for the performance arts remains an unfortunate challenge in our country, so it is always heart-warming when a giant corporation such as MTN sees the value and invest in our art form,â€ says Marcus Desando, Artistic Director.
The donation from MTN will also allow the BTE to empower aspiring artists who cannot afford to enrol for formal singing training. The ensemble runs an incubator scheme, which is an apprenticeship programme that provides free training and exposes aspiring opera artists from poor backgrounds to stage performances. The apprenticeship is a three year programme in which the aspirants are trained into full blown opera artists.
Last year, MTN sponsored the first Johannesburg performance of the BTEâ€™s annual Christmas concert.
Tickets to the first concert on 21 March are available at Computicket at R180, R160 and R140. A 10% discount will be given to pensioners and block bookings of 10 or more.
About MTN Group
Launched in 1994, the MTN Group is a multinational telecommunications group, operating in 21 countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The MTN Group is listed on the JSE Securities Exchange in South Africa under the share code: â€œMTN.â€ As of 30 September 2011, MTN recorded over 158 million subscribers across its operations in Afghanistan, Benin, Botswana, Cameroon, Cote dâ€™Ivoire, Cyprus, Ghana, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Republic, Iran, Liberia, Nigeria, Republic of Congo (Congo Brazzaville), Rwanda, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Syria, Uganda, Yemen and Zambia. Visit us at www.mtn.com and www.mtnfootball.com
About The Black Tie Ensemble
The original idea Mimi Coertse and Neels Hansen had in 1999 has evolved over 12 years and now BTE VO1SS has been born. The main aim is to create classical performance opportunities for South African artists, but also branch into a more commercial entity as well. We believe that we will keep all the classical music supporters we had and welcome a whole bunch of new supporters too. Apart from ensuring continued live performances of opera and serious music, one of the aims of BTE was, and still is, to create a conduit for gifted singers to attain their goals and to nurture and develop their talents, as well as to offer talented artists with no formal training the opportunity to further their studies and to gain experience through BTE VO1SS Academy. We have been lauded for our developmental work and have also received awards in this regard. BTE VO1SS has performed at National and International concerts, Arts Festivals and corporate functions to great acclaim and included countries such as Zambia, China, Austria, Japan and Nigeria.
Issued by MTN Group Corporate Affairs
For more information, please contact:
Vista Kalipa on 076 047 1355 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Zinhle Dlamini on 083 212 9436 or email@example.com
Madeleen Engelbrecht on 084 209 3161 or firstname.lastname@example.org
BTE VO1SS (The Black Tie Ensemble)
012 322 7944
084 209 3161
Web site: http://www.blackties.co.za