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Biography

The young South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu is already entering the international spotlight with her shimmering vocal quality and technique, boundless musicality, and authentic stage presence. In 2019, she was awarded the prestigious John Christie Award at the Glyndebourne Festival, and she is also a recent prizewinner at the Operalia Competition and the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition.

South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu’s engagements this season include her return to the Bayersiche Staatsoper as Micaela Carmen conducted by Daniele Rustioni; Norina Don Pasquale for the Opéra national de Lorraine; Lauretta in Ersan Mondtag’s new production of Gianni Schicci conducted by Michele Mariotti for the Teatro dell’Opera de Roma; Violetta La traviata for Pittsburgh Opera and the National Theatre, Prague and Lauretta in Sir David McVicar’s new production of Il trittico for Welsh National Opera

In the 2022/23 season Vuvu made her debut at Seattle Opera as Violetta La traviata; at Dutch National Opera in the European Premiere of Jeanine Tesori’s Blue; at Staatsoper Stuttgart as Pamina Die Zauberflöte; at Welsh National Opera as Cunegonde Candide and at The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden as First Nymph in a new production of Rusalka conducted by Semyon Bychkov.

Other recent operatic appearances include: Gilda Rigoletto and Musetta La bohème for the Glyndebourne Festival; Astarte Der Schmied von Gent (Schreker) and Musetta for the Opera Vlaanderen; Leila Les pêcheurs de perles for Cape Town Opera and at Theater St Gallen she appeared as Bess MacNeill in Missy Mazzoli’s Breaking the Waves.

Vuvu made her debut at the Bayerische Staatsoper as a Blumenmädchen in a new production of Parsifal in 2018 conducted by Kirill Petrenko; other appearances include: Cunegonde Candide for the Bergen National Opera; Corinna Il viaggio a Reims for the Rossini Opera Festival and for Opera Köln; Clara Porgy and Bess at the Teatro Real, Madrid and Teatro Colon, Buenos Aries and First Nymph Rusalka at the Glyndebourne Festival. 

Vuvu was a prizewinner at the Operalia and Belvedere Competitions, she was participant of the Accademia Rossiniana at the Rossini Opera Festival and she was awarded the John Christie Award at the 2019 Glyndebourne Festival.

Biography not for publication, for an up to date version please contact Oliver Clarke.

Press

"In the title role (and her Seattle Opera debut), we have Vuvu Mpofu, a young South African soprano whose vocal finesse makes the challenging coloratura arias sound easy and natural. (“La Traviata” means “one who strayed,” and the courtesan Violetta certainly fits that category, though her unselfish generosity and her good heart redeem her.) Mpofu is a compelling actor, conveying both Violetta’s physical fragility and her determination to live life to the fullest. Her voice is resonant and powerful, and was impressively agile as she rose to the final high E-flat in one of the most famously florid arias in the operatic repertoire, “Sempre libera” (“Always free”). Mpofu’s tender and regretful “Addio, del passato” was heart-wrenching enough to make operagoers reach for their hankies. This is a singer to watch, one who is both technically accomplished and vocally thrilling." Melinda Bargreen, Seattle Times

"The public will have fallen under the spell of the South African Vuvu Mpofu (Norina), both for her qualities as an actress and as a singer. Experienced in bel canto style, although equipped with a relatively full-bodied timbre which could suggest interesting role takings in the years to come, the young performer is as comfortable in vocalizations, trills and high notes as in the long cantilenas to which she knows how to give strength and substance." Patrick Delacour, Olyrix

"The central figure around which everyone gravitates, Norina finds the ideal actress in Vuvu Mpofu. Her free and uninhibited play brings all the spice, trickery and humor that make her irresistible. The vocal interpretation is impeccable both in the long sustained cantilena phrases and in the brilliance of the vocalizations up to the assurance and percussive character of the high notes." Michel Thomé, ResMusica

"Vuvu Mpofu sang Musetta; in 2019 she won the John Christie Glyndebourne Award. She is more brash and crystalline than Véliz, and is superb vocal foil, leaning into the character’s swagger and polishing notes above the stave to a fine gleam in Act two; the weeping in her voice in the final sequence of Act four was touching indeed." Benjamin Poore, Operawire

"Vuvu Mpofu captured both Musetta’s flightiness and concern, lighting up the stage with her vibrant stage presence and her silvery soprano." Kevin W NG, Bachtrack

"I noticed the South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu in "Il viaggio a Reims" at the Rossini Festival in Pesaro two years ago. It’s a substantial voice — she sings Gilda onthe Glyndebourne tour this autumn — as a Mozartian she’s a diamond..." Hugh Canning, Sunday Times

"... the coquettish Musetta, South African soprano Vuvu Mpofu, possesses a gorgeous, crystalline voice that won Glyndebourne’s John Christie Award in 2019. The production downplays the latent comedy between the shambling painter in white overalls and the flirtatious but ultimately moral Musetta, but there was great feeling in their duet ‘Quando m’en vo’, one of the real showstoppers of the opera." Adrian York, London Unattached

"Vuvu Mpofu as Astarte brings both an upper register that combines silvery clarity with voluptuous warmth..." Shirley Apthorpe, Financial Times

"Bringing a depth of emotion to their character which easily outshines all others though, is Vuva Mpofu as Gilda whose discovery of the Duke’s true character is genuinely moving.." The Reviews Hub

"Vuvu Mpofu shone as the hapless, but manipulative Maria Stuarda. We recall her out- standing portrayal of Violetta earlier this year, memorable for the floated top notes which hung in the air with stupefying fragility; this role afforded her the opportunity of reproducing that aspect of her art, but also much more!” Cape Times

"La prima è quella di Vuvu Mpofu che ha interpretato magistralmente la Romance de Mathilde “Sombre foret” dal Guillaume Tell. Una voce intensa, oscura e allo stesso tempo luminosa, controllata eppure ricca di slanci. Il pubblico – di cui scriverò alla fine – l’ha accolta con simpatia e affetto, dedicandole il primo grande applauso della serata." www.pu24.it

"Mpofu’s rendition of Gilda’s famous aria, Caro nome, is truly beautiful." Artslink.co.za

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