People warn that it’s not safe in central Durban at night, but the area had security and was well lighted. The historic old buildings looked beautiful. Before and after the philharmonic performance, Zulu and belly dancers performed in the upper and lower mezzanines.
KwaZulu Natal (KZN) Philharmonic Orchestra
The orchestra beautifully performed three compositions:
- Rossini Semiramide Overture – orchestra only
- Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No. 1 in A minor, Op. 33 – guest cellist
- Haydn Excerpts from The Creation – four opera singers and choir
The Clermont Community Choir and soloists enhanced the performance:
- Aristide du Plessis – Cello
- S’Bongile Mntambo – Soprano
- Siphokazi Maphumulo – Mezzo-Soprano
- Thando Mjandana – Tenor
- Mthunzi Nokubeka – Bass
The performers all have impressive histories. The Clermont Community Choir, managed by Wiseman Mkhize, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The 85-member Choir is the “undefeated champions at the famous prestigious Old Mutual National Choir Festival.” The Choir specializes in “different music genres with a special focus on choral, opera, classical, and African Indigenous music”. Members vary from scholars, students, and workers to employment-seekers.
Durban recently became the first city in South Africa and on the African continent to become a UNESCO World City of Literature in 2018.
Mayor, Zandile Gumede, spoke and congratulated the choir not only for their 25 years of music but also for being Durban ambassadors. During Nelson Mandela International Day in 2013, the choir represented South Africa on a tour with the KZN Philharmonic in France. Mandela loved the choir. They helped soothe grief-stricken South Africans by singing at his funeral.
Talented cellist Atistide du Plessis has won many prizes and performed in Zürich, Vienna, Munich, and Berlin. Du Plessis is co-principal cellist with the Philharmonic.
Associate guest conductor Daniel Boico has produced performances all over the world, including the US, Europe, Central and South America, Africa, and Asia. He was Assistant Conductor of the New York Philharmonic 2009-2011 and apprentice conductor to former Chicago Symphony Music Director Daniel Barenboim.
Durban City Hall
City Hall is one of the most beautiful buildings in Durban. Built in 1910 and designed by architect Stanley Hudson, it “boasts a distinctly dramatic Neo-Baroque style”. The building is described as an “exaggerated structure that oozes grandeur and elegance”. It’s stunning, especially at night.
City Hall is “bedecked with sculptures that represent different facets of modern South Africa”.
Like Cape Town, Durban’s City Hall houses many cultural venues:
City Hall is “more than a remnant of the architecture of old. It provides modern residents and international visitors with practical resources and a fascinating context”.