“…finding that root of human expression that combines the power of the voice with the power of music with the power of staging…”
Angelo Gobbato weaves the story of an Italian childhood with filmic wonder, a tapestry of colour, floating ribbons and exotic puppets; an enchanted childhood that gave him every excuse to sing – in markets, to friends, to his mother’s seamstresses; stealing their fabrics to make his own puppets.
He arrived in South Africa with his parents at the age of 7. Until his voice broke he made a name for himself and earned a few pennies, singing in the Vic Davis Band in Muizenburg. He studied piano and singing privately while reading science at UCT.
In South Africa Albina Bini mentored his career until in 1965-6 he studied further in Milan. He made his debut in Cape Town in 1965 in the role of Kecal, (The Bartered Bride) and since has sung extensively in buffo roles.
He was appointed resident producer at the Nico Malan Opera House 1976-81; but was troubled that the Apartheid government prevented black opera singers being given equal opportunity. His chance to correct this discrepancy came in 1982 when he was appointed head of the Opera School at UCT; a position he held until 1988. He was then able to play a vital role in training and encouraging young black opera singers.
In 1989 he was appointed Director of Opera for the Cape Performing Arts Board.
His story rolls as effortlessly off his tongue as song has sprung from his heart. He has inspired, taught, trained and mentored, however his most lasting legacy is the scores of South African singers who have arrived from nowhere, with a single desire to sing opera. He has helped them rise in their careers, many winning the envied Tabor- Belvedere Singing Competition.