Invictus: Nelson Mandela's favourite poem set to music by opera star Pumeza Matshikiza
Friday 21 June 2013
A poem which famously inspired Nelson Mandela during his decades of incarceration has been set to music by a rising opera star.
Invictus - which the former South African president read to fellow prisoners in Robben Island jail - has been recorded by Royal Opera House-trained soprano Pumeza Matshikiza.
The words have been put to music by Paul Mealor, who composed music for the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in 2011.
South African-born Matshikiza, who was brought up in the townships of Cape Town, has recorded the track for her debut album which will be released later this year after she signed a classical record deal.
The 34-year-old singer, who has attracted acclaim for her performances, was brought up in poverty in a shack with bare floors but her talent won her a place at the South African College of Music, and she went on to land a scholarship for the Royal College of Music in London.
She was later in the young artist programme at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden where she participated in masterclasses with international stars such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa.
Matshikiza is to dedicate her recording of Invictus to Mandela when the album comes out later this year.
The words were first published in 1875 and written by British poet William Ernest Henley, although the title was added by an editor for a later publication.
The lines "Beyond this place of wrath and tears, looms but the horror of the shade, and yet the menace of the years, finds and shall find me unafraid" were said to be a motivating force for Mandela in prison.
Invictus was also the title of a 2009 film starring Matt Damon about the South African rugby team in which the squad is spurred on to victory by the poem, after being introduced to it by Mandela.
Matshikiza, who has signed with UK-based Decca Classics, said: "My debut album tells the story of my incredible journey from Africa to Europe and I feel privileged to be able to chart it through the very personal repertoire choices on this album - songs and arias that prove music unites people across the world and brings cultures together."
As well as arias by Mozart and Puccini, she has also recorded traditional songs in her Xhosa language along with a track by Paul Simon and Wimoweh (The Lion Sleeps Tonight).
Grace Dent on TV The Secret Life of the Pub is sexist, ageist and a breath of fresh air
Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression
tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 'We're not heroes, just tourists': Swedish police officers on holiday stop vicious assault on New York subway
- 2 Black Mass trailer: Johnny Depp might have started making good films again
- 3 Jacob Lescenski and Anthony Martinez: Straight student asks gay friend to High School prom and makes a million Twitter friends
- 4 Buckingham Palace guard who attacked passers-by in 'most most violent piece of CCTV footage' police officer had seen walks free
- 5 Australian student Tommy Connolly, 23, adopts his pregnant, homeless 17-year-old cousin to give her a chance at 'a better life'
MasterChef, TV review: The final climaxed in a frenzy of herbs and hyperbole
Everyday People project: Photographer Pablo Conejo placed an ad on Gumtree - and kickstarted a series of interesting encounters
Male student sues Columbia University for 'gender-based harassment' after alleged 'Mattress Performance' rape victim Emma Sulkowicz went public with claims
MasterChef 2015: Simon Wood named winner
Black Mass trailer: Johnny Depp might have started making good films again
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Katie Hopkins on LBC: Listen to caller taking The Sun columnist to task over migrant comments
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove