Reviews

” The show is a delight, from start to finish…It is the quality of performance that makes this show special. A tiny venue has no hiding place, and this format demands singers who are versatile, detail-perfect and listenable at much less than full throttle. Catherine Hopper’s elegant mezzo and Nicholas Watts’s supple tenor are pleasurable, but the creamy baritone of South African Njabulo Madlala was the gem of the evening.” – Opera Highlights / Scottish Opera / ****Daily Express

“Njabulo Madlala also opened with Bellini, and he clearly had the richest, most distinctive voice.“
– Ferrier Awards / Wigmore Hall / Opera Now

“That moment of rapt silence and attention, when an audience is entirely transfixed by a musician’s artistry, is rare at the best of times — let alone in the middle of a competition. But it happened in the finals of this year’s Kathleen Ferrier Awards, when the South African baritone, Njabulo Madlala, riveted every listener in the hall with his musical storytelling in Schumann’s dramatic ballad, Belsazar. The 28-year-old’s imagination created a gripping and growing sense of menace; and when he cried “Ich bin der König von Babylon”, the walls of the Wigmore Hall shook with terror. He would have taken first prize for this alone. But there was more. Madlala was equally at home in Butterworth’s Bredon Hill and in an aria from Bellini’s I Puritani that revealed the rich velvet plush of his fearless voice, its inner warmth and its flexibility.”
– Ferrier Awards / Wigmore Hall / The Times

“His voice was the only one of the six contestants that sounded mature with all the registers balanced and he made a warm sound. His programme was chosen wisely to display what he could do best. A Bellini aria was followed by Butterworth’s song on Bredon Hill, Schumann’s Lied Balsazar, a folksong from the kraal and a passionately warm aria from Leoncavallo’s Zaza (good idea to sing music that the judges might not be too familiar with). His musicianship was impeccable and he didn’t make the mistake that other contestants had made, of singing too loud, and he had ‘the gift to be simple’. He was a winner whose name is worthy to be placed alongside previous winners, who include some of the finest singers of recent times.“
– Ferrier Awards / Wigmore Hall / Musical Opinion

“…Njabulo Madlala gave Don Fernando a benign and noble bearing.”
– Don Fernando: Fidelio / Opera Holland Park / Opera

“…Njabulo Madlala’s preening, elegantly sung Don Fernando…”
– Don Fernando: Fidelio / Opera Holland Park / What’s On Stage

“The chamber-sized version of Mahler’s Lieder eines Fahranden Gesellen was much more rewarding, not least because of the eloquently restrained sadness in baritone Njabulo Madlala’s performance.”
– Mahler: Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen / Foyles Firsts / The Times

“Tim Mirfin’s self-mocking Colline and Njabulo Madlala’s expansive Schaunard are warmly drawn.”
– Schaunard: La bohème / Opera Holland Park / The Independent

“…there’s a notable Schaunard from Njabulo Madlala…”
– Schaunard: La bohème / Opera Holland Park / What’s On Stage

http://www.oxfordtimes.co.uk/leisure/music_and_books/8352359.Njabulo_Madlala__Holywell_Music_Room/