Biographies

The Director & Librettist

Michael Williams is a prize-winning author of twelve novels published in USA, Europe and South Africa. He is an accomplished opera director and has written the book and lyrics for several indigenous operas. He wrote the libretti for three Temmingh operas, Enoch-Prophet of God and Sacred Bones, which were mounted by Cape Town Opera and the three-act Buchuland, commissioned by the State Theatre, in Pretoria. He wrote the book and lyrics for The Milkbird, The Seven-Headed Snake, Child of the Moon, Love and Green Onions (based on Zakes Mda’s Ways of Dying) and collaborated with Allan Stephenson on The Orphans of Qumbu, Who Killed Jimmy Valentine? and Wonderfully Wicked which have been variously performed at the National Arts Festival, in townships halls, schools and theatres throughout Southern Africa. He was commissioned by NorrlandsOperan, in Sweden, to write the libretto for Poet & Prophetess (Larsson-Gothe) which had its world premier in Umeå and toured to South Africa in 2008. His second  commission from NorrlandsOperan – The Elephant Man (Unander-Scharin) – had its world premier in Umeå 2011 before touring Sweden.  He wrote the book and lyrics and directed Mandela Trilogy which toured to Durban and Johannesburg in 2011 and won the Naledi Awards for Best Musical. The opera/musical had its European premier at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff in 2012. He has directed many operas in all the major cities in South Africa, including Rigoletto, La bohéme noir, The Consul, Madama Butterfly, Lohingrin, Don Giovanni, Cosi fan tutte, La traviata, Turandot, Cavalleria rusticana and Pagliacci, Hendrik Hofmeyr’s The Fall of the House of Usher, Die Entführung aus dem Serail, Faust, Aqua Opera 2004 and Carmen. He is currently the Managing Director of Cape Town Opera.
 

The Composers

MIKE CAMPBELL (Composer Act II)
Mike Campbell is one of South Africa’s most prolific and experienced music writers in the jazz idiom. His arrangements for big band and symphony orchestra have featured in many live and recorded productions for stage, radio and television. He has worked as a composer, arranger, conductor and bandleader in South Africa, Europe and the United States, and established the Jazz Studies Programme at the UCT’s College of Music, where he holds the position of Associate Professor and Head of Jazz.

PÉTER LOUIS VAN DIJK (Composer Act I & Act III)
Péter Louis van Dijk is an internationally performed composer whose works include Horizons for the King’s Singers, Bells for the Chicago Children’s Choir and a string quartet, iinyembezi for Sontonga. More recent works include the Magnificat for the NMMU Choir and string quintet, which received its US premiere at the Ravinia Festival in Chicago, Dancing into light for the New York-based violin and harp duo Clockwise, Let Your Words for the Mädchenkantorei am Würzburger Dom, Germany, Chariots, jointly commissioned by the Texas State and NMMU Choirs, Cessate, commissioned by Potchefstroom University for KUESTA 2009 and Windy City Songs for soloists, mixed choir, children’s choir and orchestra, commissioned by the Chicago Children’s Choir. This was premiered at the Lyric Opera in Chicago during 2007 and received its African premiere with the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra under the composer’s baton in 2008. He has more than a dozen CDs in his discography and his works have been published by Oxford University Press, Hal Leonard, Accolade Musikverlag, Prestige and under the Marco Polo label. He has conducted most major South African orchestras as well as the CYSO in Chicago and members of the Austin Symphony in Texas. Dr Van Dijk teaches Composition and Orchestration at the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in Port Elizabeth. He appears in the publication Who is Who in Choral Music.