Mandela Trilogy musical tribute returns for 2016 UK tour

Mandela Trilogy. Images John Snelling.
Mandela Trilogy. Images John Snelling.

Mandela Trilogy, a musical tribute to the life of Nelson Mandela, returns to the UK for a 2016 national tour opening at Wales Millennium Centre next August.

From tribal initiation rites on the banks of the Mbashe River, through the heady and rebellious jazz-fuelled days in Sophiatown, to incarceration and reflection on Robben Island and finally beyond, to freedom – this is the story of one of the world’s most iconic figures.

The amazing life of Nelson Mandela is brought vividly to the stage by Cape Town Opera in a large-scale celebration and tribute to the man who touched hearts and minds around the world.

Told in three parts by a cast and orchestra of over 60 South African performers, the music matches the vastly different phases of Mandela’s journey from freedom fighter to president.

Mandela Trilogy credit John Snelling

The upbeat jazz and swing-influenced songs of Sophiatown are framed by musical styles more familiar in contemporary opera – with a dash of Xhosa folk music that grounds the production in its African roots.

The co-production from the Millennium Centre and Cape Town Opera, was last performed at the Cardiff venue in 2012. It is written and directed by Michael Williams with music by Peter Louis van Dijk and Mike Campbell.

Graeme Farrow, artistic and creative director at Wales Millennium Centre said: “We are delighted to be presenting Cape Town Opera’s Mandela Trilogy on a UK and Ireland tour next summer.

“Showcasing the talent of the hugely gifted opera company, this production will offer audiences a wonderful spectacle with its exceptional cast, award-winning chorus and original score.

“I’m delighted we are able to share the story of Nelson Mandela’s heroic and inspirational life, two years after his death.

“This tour is another step in the development of collaborative and exchange projects between the centre and our strategic partner – Cape Town Opera.”

Written by two different composers, each Act is in stark contrast to the others, but with an over-arching dramatic theme that shines a light on the life of an extraordinary man.


August 24-27, Wales Millennium Centre, Cardiff
August 31-September 3, Royal Festival Hall at Southbank Centre
September 7-10, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
September 14-17, Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin
September 20-21, Birmingham Hippodrome
September 23-24, Lowry Theatre, Salford.

Watch an earlier production of the show:

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