Pierre du Toit, lecturer at the Tshwane University of Technology’s (TUT) Department of Performing Arts (Vocal Art), recently performed to full houses and standing ovations in Italy, generally considered the birthplace of opera. 
Du Toit sang at the Ravenna Festival 2016 in an opera called The Mandela Trilogy. The performances took place in the Teatro Alighieri and was a collaboration between Cape Town Opera and the Riccardo Muti orchestra. Muti is a prolific conductor and recording artist associated with the music of Guiseppe Verdi. His wife, Maria, is the founder and director of the Ravenna Festival. The Ravenna Festival is a summer festival of opera and added art forms, including dance, fine arts and other music genres. “It is an international event of extremely high quality with top-rated artists and conductors,” says du Toit. This year, the South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer, Hugh Masekela, also performed at the event. Pierre adds that the theatre has been a major opera house in Europe for centuries, featuring hundreds of operas. He sang the role of “Whiteman” in the aforementioned production, which tells the story of Nelson Mandela; and has been performed at many prestigious opera houses around the globe. Du Toit says Maestro Muti was touched after seeing one of the performances and personally congratulated the cast members. Following its recent successes, it is expected that the opera will also be invited to other great opera houses around the globe.