Kelebogile Besong


The young South-African spinto-soprano Kelebogile Besong is emerging on the international opera and concert stages as a talent of unusually strong stage presence, sensitive musicianship and vocal power. After making her North American debut as Aida with the Pacific Symphony, critics proclaimed, “At the youthful age of 28, Besong’s vocal abilities are nothing short of phenomenal. Her Aida is truly visceral… The dramatic soprano turns on a dime, capable of radiating over and above tutti orchestra, yet poised for a quixotic shift of pianissimo phrasing that melts like butter.”( The soprano returns this season to the Pacific Symphony for her role debut as Desdemona in Otello, she also joins Opera Saratoga in her role debut as Cio-Cio-San in Madama Butterfly. Last season, she returned to the role of Aida at Theater Dortmund, and sang Bess in the Porgy and Bess Suite in a return to Malmö Opera. Ms. Besong also recently sang Countess Almaviva in Le Nozze di Figaro at the Hyogo Performing Arts Center in Japan, joined the Edinburgh International Festival for Musetta in La bohème, and sang Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at Festival d’Aix-en-Provence.

Quickly establishing Aida as a signature role, Besong has also sung the role with Malmö Opera and Aalto-Musiktheater Essen. Her recent performances include: Fiordiligi in Cosi fan Tutte at the Bregenzer Festpiele; Violetta in La Traviata, Giorgietta in Il tabarro, and Dejanira Weil’s Royal Palace with Opéra National de Montpellier; Musetta in La bohème at Grange Park Opera; Micaela in Carmen with Opera Africa; Contessa in Le Nozze di Figaro with both Tampere Opera and the Orchestra of the 18th Century and conductor Kenneth Montgomery at the Concertgebouw in Amsterdam; the title role in Kálmán’s Gräfen Mariza with the Johannesburg Symphony; and Venus in John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and the Sorceress in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas at the Innsbrucker Festwochen der Alten Musik. She created the role Gabisile in the Opera Africa’s world premiere of Ziyankomo and the Forbidden Fruit by Phelelani Mnomiya, sang the title role in Zulu Opera Princess Magogo at Den Norske Opera in Oslo, and Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Opéra Royal de Wallonie. On the concert stage she recently performed Handel’s Messiah and Mendelssohn’s Elijah both with the Johannesburg Symphony, and additional concert performances include Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, Mozart’s Requiem and Mass in C minor and Poulenc’s Gloria.

Ms. Besong is the proud recipient of the 2012 Standard Bank Young Artist Award in Music and in 2013 she was awarded Africa’s Most Influential Woman in Business & Government (Arts). Mrs. Besong was a finalist of the 32nd Belvedere Singing Competition 2013, held at the Dutch National Opera in Amsterdam, and represented South-Africa in the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition 2015.

Management Territory: Worldwide

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