Aubrey Lodewyk plays Nelson Mandela giving a black power salute

*(Via The AP) – A sexy dose of jazz and the refined strains of Western opera and traditional Xhosa song drive a new opera about South Africa’s former president and anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela.

The range of musical styles in “Mandela Trilogy” reflects South Africa’s mix of cultures, the production’s writer and director Michael Williams said in an interview before a dress rehearsal on Friday.

After preliminary runs in the eastern coastal city of Durban and the heartland town of Bloemfontein, the Cape Town Opera’s production moved to South Africa’s economic and entertainment hub, Johannesburg, on Saturday.

The sweeping action of “Trilogy” moves from Mandela’s boyhood village in southeastern South Africa to the Johannesburg townships where he became a political leader and then to the prisons where he spent 27 years. Mandela is shown cheating on his wife, making political missteps and struggling with the burden of holding others’ lives in his hands.

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Lodewyk plays Mandela in his Robben Island prison cell.

 

Lodewyk as Mandela reacting to the death of his son.