Local soprano and former teacher raise Guild Theatre curtain

The Guild Theatre in East London this week welcomes its first live audience since lockdown started in late March.

Bouquet Marina Sings takes place on Thursday and will see soprano Marina Pienaar and pianist Jacques Du Plessis doing what they do best.

Offering up a bouquet of whimsical classical tunes, Pienaar, a former Stirling High school pupil, and Du Plessis, her former teacher, will perform for a limited audience.

It’s so wonderful to be back at the Guild Theatre, and this time I’m not in the back of a ballet or performing as a character. I’m performing as myself for the first time so it’s very exciting

“It’s so wonderful to be back at the Guild Theatre, and this time I’m not in the back of a ballet or performing as a character.

“I’m performing as myself for the first time so it’s very exciting,” said Pienaar, 24, currently one of 22 students studying towards a Master's degree in performance in vocal studies at the Royal College of Music in London.

Pienaar graduated cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in music from Stellenbosch University.

During her time in Stellenbosch she performed in several operas for both the AGL Opera and the Cape Town Opera.

Du Plessis said:

“It feels like we’ve come full circle. She’s a professional now and it’s a very proud moment for me to accompany her again.

“It’s also the perfect time for solo concerts and shows because of social distancing.

“It really is going to be a gift to perform for people after so long.”

The person behind the recital is local theatre-maker Amanda Bothma.

“There is a great need for classical recitals and even a full-length opera in our town,” said Bothma.

“So when I heard Marina was back home because of the pandemic I got her and Jacques [du Plessis] together.

“Audiences can expect a proper classical repertoire of Marina’s favourite songs.” 

Pienaar said the songs all fell into the classical art genre and each made use of flower imagery.

“That is where the title comes from. It’s like a bouquet of flowers from Marina to the audience,” Bothma said.

Using her powerful yet tender voice, Pienaar will sing of roses, orchards, tranquil gardens and love in various languages, including French, Italian and Afrikaans.

“My gran gave me a book with a collection of Afrikaans folk music in it.

“When I started reading through I realised that we, at varsity, were never taught about any of these Afrikaans composers.

As a personal project I’d like to collect as many songs as I can and translate this music so people can understand more about this genre of the Afrikaans art song

“As a personal project I’d like to collect as many songs as I can and translate this music so people can understand more about this genre of the Afrikaans art song,” said Pienaar.

“I never really wanted to be an opera or classical singer.

“It wasn’t until I was in my first year of varsity that my lecturer suggested I check it out.

“I watched some of Lebo M’s work and fell in love with classical music.”

Pienaar and Du Plessis’ performance takes place on Thursday from 7pm for one night only.

The performance will be recorded and form part of the Guild Theatre’s weekly Lockdown series concerts in the coming weeks.

Limited tickets are available from Computicket at R100 a person.


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