Having contacted Richard Cock when he was in Grade 11, and in the East Rand Youth Choir, Siyabonga so impressed Richard that he decided to help him along in his career towards becoming a singer. After matric, he was supported for three years at North West University. In his final year, he was selected to attend an academy in Schlesswig-Holstein, and as a member of that academy he travelled to Brazil, China and Germany. During this time, Siyabonga was also a member of the Twenty Tenors, which performed widely around South Africa as part of the RMB 2010 celebrations around the World Cup Soccer.
In 2012 he attended a masterclass with Professor Josef Protschka from the Hochschule fur Musik und Tanz, Cologne, and was chosen to study there after completing his degree in South Africa. He was successful in his studies, going on to complete a Master’s degree with distinction. He subsequently obtained a position as a soloist at the Meinigen Opera House, and has since been invited to sing in Vienna, Berlin, and several other important European cities.
In 2017 he was nominated as one of the finalists for the Young Opera Singer of the Year Award by Opernwelt Magazine.
He has recently been invited to sing in several A-list opera houses in Germany, and performs regularly as part of RMB’s Starlight Classics concerts.
Siyabonga Maqungo - tenor
Bronwen Forbay - soprano
In the same year of winning the 1st UNISA Southern African Voice Competition, Bronwen Forbay was supported by the Apollo Music Trust for her Doctor of Musical Arts in Voice Performance at the University of Cincinnati, College Conservatory of Music. She was also a Fullbright scholar.
During her studies, Forbay was the winner of numerous awards such as the Sam Adams Award from the University of Cincinnati, CCM for the “Most Outstanding Performance in a CCM Opera Production”, the Catherine Filene Shouse Career Grant for Singers from the Wolf Trap Opera and the 2007 Standard Bank National Young Artist Award for Music.
Forbay has performed many times with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra, Cape Town Opera and the Wolf Trap Opera Company, as well as touring with Varna International in Venice, Verona and Vicenza and also performing at the Royal Festival Hall in London. In fulfilment of her Fulbright scholarship, she spent two years in South Africa as a full-time lecturer at the University of KwaZulu-Natal’s Opera Studio and Voice Academy, teaching Applied Voice and Diction for Singers.
Since immigrating to the United States, Forbay has served on the faculties at Sam Houston State University in Huntsville and the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton. Currently, she is the Assistant Professor of Voice and Opera at the McLennan Community College in Waco where she directs the annual opera production and also manages to perform regularly in the United States and on various tours.
Albert Horne - conductor
Albert Horne received funding to study conducting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London under Maestra Sian Edwards, where he was awarded a Master’s Degree with distinction in 2007.
From 2007-2014, Horne worked as New Chorus Master and Conductor for Cape Town Opera in South Africa, and under his leadership their chorus was voted “Best Opera Chorus of the Year” by an international panel of judges at the 2013 International Opera Awards in London. In 2012 he was Chorus Master for concert performances of Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess at the Philharmonie in Berlin, with Sir Simon Rattle and the Berliner Philharmoniker. As well as conducting many of South Africa’s leading orchestras, Horne has also served as a guest conductor for many international orchestras such as the Münchner Symphoniker, Orchestre Pasdeloup in Paris, the Orchestre National Bordeaux Aquitaine, Orchestra Victoria in Melbourne, as well as the Malmö Opera Orchestra, the Israel Symphony Orchestra Rishon LeZion in Tel Aviv, the Welsh National Opera Orchestra in Cardiff and the Hessian State Orchestra in Wiesbaden.
Since the start of the 2014/2015 season, Horne has been Chorus Master and conductor at the Hessisches Staatstheater Wiesbaden, Germany, where he conducted a new production of Bernstein’s Candide and the revival of John Dew’s acclaimed production of Madama Butterfly. During their 2016/2017 season he conducted a new production of Britten’s Peter Grimes, a revival of Puccini’s La Bohème, as well as a Symphony Concert.
In 2018 he conducted the Rheinland-Pfalz Youth Orchestra on their tour around South Africa, with soloist Megan-Geoffrey Prins