On Friday, 9 and Saturday, 10 September 2022, comprising young Namibian musicians, Vox Vitae Singers will premiere Namibia’s first opera at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN) in Windhoek. Titled Chief Hijangua and performed in Otjiherero and German, the opera includes international musicians from Germany and South Africa.
Composed and conducted by Vox Vitae Singers’ Founder, Eslon Hindundu, Chief Hijangua is based on a story which has survived through oral tradition over generations in Namibia. The story is about a Namibian prince’s tragic and dramatic journey. Heartbroken, Hijangua leaves his tribe and stumbles upon a young German girl, who saves him and later falls in love with him. The German girl’s community disapprove of their relationship. Hijangua is banished and told to return to his homeland. However, his return to his tribe takes a tragic course full of misery, more heartbreak, drama and death.
Sponsored by Bank Windhoek, Chief Hijangua is set to star Sakiwe Mksoana, Henrike Henoch, Natasha Ndjiharine, Monde Masimini, Rheinaldt Tshepo Moagi, Galilei Njembo, and Yonwaba Mbo. “This project has the potential to massively impact, preserve, develop and create a new idiom in Namibian Classical Music,” said Hindundu. “We envisaged it to reignite the love of music in the hearts of the Namibian community, preserving and reflecting on the journey that Namibians have taken for the current and future generations.”
Regarding the Bank’s support, Hindundu said he is grateful that Bank Windhoek believes in Namibian arts and that this encourages younger artists to pursue their dreams. “As an artist, we do not get much support. But seeing that Bank Windhoek has come on board to support this project is a blessing, and we are all thankful,” said Hindundu.
The Bank’s Head of Corporate Social Investments (CSI), Sponsorship and Events, Bronwyn Moody, said that as a connector of positive change, Bank Windhoek believes in and supports arts development. “Composing and having a Namibian opera can preserve and inspire many musicians, bring many nations together. Thus, supporting the staging of the first Namibian opera is a huge privilege. It preserves the treasure of Namibian classical folk music,” she said. “We encourage all Namibia to come to the NTN to experience the first Namibian opera.”
An opera is a staged drama set to music in its entirety, made up of vocal pieces with instrumental accompaniment and usually with orchestral overtures and interludes. The Chief Hijangua opera was developed by an international team of artists around Hindundu. He is supported by the German director Kim Mira Meyer and the German author Nikolaus Frei.
With a cast of over a hundred participants, Chief Hijangua is made up of three phases. Following the premiere in Windhoek, Munich’s performance in Germany is also planned for 2023. The artistic team was inspired by Namibia’s colonial history and traditional folk tales of the country. Tickets are available at Pick ‘n Pay and Web ticket, N$100 for students, N$250 for the public and N$500 for VIPs.