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MUSA

"Impressed with a rich, glowing voice and elegant legato ..."
-The New York Times

THE BUZZ on MUSA

Musa Ngqungwana, Reviews


Don Giovanni at FLORENTINE OPERA (MARCH 2017)
"Musa Ngqungwana created a thoroughly likable, consistently funny Leporello, coloring the role with a big soaring sound and handling comic whining and big, stand-and-deliver moments with equal ease."

-Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

"The vocal and physical counterpoint is his servant, Leporello, played with flailing hysterics and effective bass baritone by Musa Ngqungwana."

-Dominique Paul Noth, Urban Milwaukee

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Moby Dick
at DALLAS OPERA (NOVEMBER 2016)
"The South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana warmly inhabits the role of the exotic harpooner Queequeg."

-Scott Cantrel, Dallas News

 

"Musa Ngqungwana excelled as Queequeg. South Africa’s bass-baritone is resonant, assured, and soothing as he develops a warm friendship with Greenhorn. Indeed, in place of the love duet in a more conventional operatic plot, there is a duet between Greenhorn and Queequeg, sung from the riggings, a beautiful paean to bromance."
-J. Robin Coffelt, Texas Classical Review

 

"...powerful presence of bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg."
-Monica Smart, Dallas Observer

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The Thieving Magpie
at GLIMMERGLASS OPERA (JULY & AUGUST 2016)

"As the rapacious mayor who seeks to dishonor Ninetta, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana produced imposingly dark sounds."

-Fred Cohn, Opera News


"Musa Ngqungwana, a powerful bass-baritone, who has designs on Ninetta, strutted and loomed like a vulture in a dark red coat."

-Heidi Waleson, The Wall Street Journal


"Impressive in every note is South African-born Musa Ngqungwana as the Mayor. He supplies the required electricity in this peculiar libretto."

-James Mackillop, Syracuse New-Times


"Another standout was Musa Ngqungwana as the mayor, Gottardo...his acting created a loathsome menace that made Scarpia seem benign."

-Ken Keaton, Classical Voice North America

"Another Philadelphia AVA graduate, South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, was a formidable Podesta (mayor). Ngqungwana’s mayor mixes his private lust with his judicial functions (that include executing servants suspected of stealing spoons). As the opera’s villain, Ngqungwana sang eloquently."
-William Burnett, Opera War Horses

"Musa Ngqungwana gives a vivid portrayal of the predatory mayor."

-Michael Johnson, ConcertoNet

"...Musa Ngqungwana, as the lecherous Mayor – provided robust tones and memorable characterizations."

-Charles Geyer, My Scena

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The Elixir of Love at GULFSHORE OPERA (April 2016)
"...The vocal sparring between her and Musa Ngqungwana on "Lo son ricco e tu sei bella (I am rich and you are beautiful)" is a textbook model on how to sing the village square battle of wits between self-appointed emcee Dulcamara and Adina.... The real glue behind this opera is the wily Dr. Dulcamara, played by Ngqungwana, another veteran to his role. A stage-filling, cheerful opportunist who sees no as a request for more information, Dulcamara is out to sell cheap Bordeaux to everyone as a rat-killer, wrinkle remover and — what Nemorino craves — a love potion. Ngqungwana's rich bass has flexibility as well as power, and he obviously relished his larger-than-life role."

-Harriet Howard Heithaus, Naples Daily News

"It was an amalgam of soap opera, sitcom, love story for the ages, and outstanding operatic performances, all rolled into one.... South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana just about stole the show with his portrayal of the nefarious medicine man, Dulcamara, out to dupe poor Nemorino, selling him his bogus magic potion. “What a simpleton. He hopes to compete with a sergeant,” he snickers. “Tomorrow I shall be far away.”
His was mischievousness personified."

-Bill Jones, Sun News Correspondent

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Carmen
at PALM BEACH OPERA (JANUARY 2016)
"South African bass Musa Ngqungwana also stood out as Zuniga; he has a rich, powerful, creamy voice that one wants to hear in much larger roles. He was restricted here, but I found him believable as a military officer with ethical issues."
-Greg Stepanich, Palm Beach Arts Paper

"Musa Ngqungwana’s deep bass and imposing presence made the Lieutenant Zuniga impressive and a little scary."
-Robert Croan, Palm Beach Daily News

"Musa Ngqungwana sang and acted with self-assurance, appropriate to Don José’s superior, Zuniga, who also succumbs to Carmen’s magnetism."

-David M. Rice, Classical Source

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Moby-Dick at LOS ANGELES OPERA (OCTOBER 2015)

"Musa Ngqungwana was an intense, commanding Queequeg whose musings showed the spiritual side of the voyage."

-Maria Nockin, Opera Today

 

"Adding an exotic, spiritual element to the opera was the rich, textured voice of Ngqungwana as Queequeg, who in the story hails from a royal lineage of his island nation."

-Humberto Capiro, Living Out Loud

 

"In the cast, Ngqungwana projects an impressive presence as Queequeg"

-Jim Farber, Los Angeles Daily News

"Musa Ngqungwana, an earnest Queequeg..."

-Mark Swed, Los Angeles Times

 

"Bass baritone Musa Ngqungwana as Queequeg was a haunting presence, commanding our respect as the noble and enlightened soul."

-Devon Wendell, The International Review of Music

 

"Greenhorn played by Joshua Guerrero and Queequeg played by Musa Ngqungwana also deserve special attention for their superb singing..."

-Paula Edelstein, AXS.com

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Musa's Closing Recital, Grahamstown 2015 National Arts Festival (JULY 6, 2015)

"Ngqungwana, who was born in the Eastern Cape but is now based in the USA, has a sumptuous voice. It is rich, powerful and sonorous, and seems come from the depths of his soul. He displayed admirable control and precision, and considerable musicality in a performance of some distinction. ...Ngqungwana sings with an outwardly effortless ease. He has a wonderful voice, substantial stage presence and considerable charisma. He appears to be the whole deal and it is little wonder that he has a fast-growing international reputation. ...All in all it was a concert to be savoured and remembered." ...Continue reading full review here.

-Keith Millar, Artsmart.com

 

Musa's Gala Performance, Grahamstown 2015 National Arts Festival (JULY 5, 2015)

"Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Music, Musa Ngqungwana, excelled in his presentation of Vous qui faites l’endormie, with each phrase displaying his considerable abilities for musical and dramatic characterization.Each gesture and vocal nuance added to his interpretation; attributes that enriched appreciation of his impressively interpreted encore, I Got Plenty of Nuttin’. ...Revelling in the declamatory wonders of Peter Klatzow’s I am an African, Ngqungwana revealed his versatility in confidently and expressively handling Klatzow’s melodic angularity." ...Continue reading full review here.

-Jeffery Brukman, Cue Online

 

"Featured as a soloist at the concert was the Standard Bank Young Artist for Music, Musa Mgqungwana. He is a powerful baritone with a voice of rich clarity and depth."

-Keith Millar, Artsmart.com

 

Musa Featured in Recital at the Grahamstown 2015 National Arts Festival (JULY 4, 2015)

"In a brace of three French chanson, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana – this year’s Standard Bank Young Artist Award winner for Music – proved his mettle as a recitalist of merit. Communicating the essence of each song with unrestrained emotion, Ngqungwana’s close identification with the artistic idiom underpinned his ability to transfer the soul of each chanson with untrammelled abandon." ...Continue reading full review here.

-Jeffery Brukman, Cue Online

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L’elisir d’amore with FLORENTINE OPERA (MAY 2015)

"Bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana was an absolutely magnetic presence in the role of Dulcamara. He used his physical stature, open, expressive face and big, burnished sound to create a delightful snake-oil salesman who eventually believes his own hype."

-Elaine Schmidt, The Journal Sentinel

 

"Dulcamara, the traveling huckster of potions, is portrayed with fun, comic gestures and tremendously clear patter by bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana. He appears larger than life in his dazzling raspberry-sherbet plaid suit and green shirt, and his voice is big, rich, and in tune. You could set your watch by his rhythm. When full ensemble numbers occasionally went adrift between the pit and the stage, Ngqungwana’s precision helped reel it all back in."

-William Barnewitz, Urban Milwaukee Dial


"Ngqungwana brought comic flair and sure musicality to the patter songs of the huckster salesman."

-Paul Kosidowski, Milwaukee Magazine

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MANON with The ACADEMY OF VOCAL ARTS (MAY 2014)

"Like the deep voiced Russians and Finns before him, we will soon be learning to pronounce his name: Musa Ngqungwana. His ample and rich voice sounds ready for any stage, and rouses the imagination to consider how he would sound in the major roles of the repertoire."

-Lorenzo Bassi, GB Opera Magazine

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OPERA INDEX GALA at the ESSEX HOUSE in NYC (JANUARY 2014)
"Musa Ngqungwana used his regal baritone in an eloquent reading of “Vi ravvisso, o luoghi ameni” and the cabaletta from Bellini’s La Sonnambula."
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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COMFORT YE CONCERT at the SYMPHONY SPACE in NYC (DECEMBER 2013)
"South African bass Musa Ngqungwana (this is NOT pronounced the way it is spelled!) impressed us with his huge round sound in the "Catalog Aria" from Mozart's Don Giovanni."
-Meche Kroop, vocedimeche.blogspot.com

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GALA CONCERT with THE OPERA ORCHESTRA OF NEW YORK, ALICE TULLY HALL (OCTOBER 2013)
“Musa Ngqungwana sang 'Vi ravviso' from La Sonnambula in a caressing and sumptuous basso that suited Bellini like a velvet glove."
-Nino Pantano, Brooklyn Daily Eagle

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NABUCCO, OPERA PHILADELPHIA COMPANY & ROLE DEBUT (OCTOBER 2013)
"Strassberger deployed another high-quality bass, Musa Ngqungwana, as upstager in chief: his High Priest - coiffed to evoke early Bayreuth Mime photos - scuttled around incessantly on canes like a deranged Babylonian Grand Inquisitor."
- Opera News, Dec 2013 - Vol. 78, No. 6

"...and the fine mezzo Margaret Mezzacappa and bass Musa Ngqungwana were excellent in their supporting roles of Fenena and the High Priest of Baal."
-Steve Cohen,
The Opera Critic

 

"Musa Ngqungwana's physical performance as the High Priest of Baal is also to be commended, limping onstage with a hunchback and two walking sticks of unequal height."

-Paul J. Pelkonen, super-conductor.blogspot.com

"Their Babylonian counterpart, the High Priest of Baal, was a quietly vicious character, emphasized by bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana‘s complete physical transportation into the ancient and contorted cleric."
-Steven Jude Tietjen,
OPERA•TURGY
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NEW WORKS CONCERT AT RAVINIA FESTIVAL (AUGUST 2013)
"The gently nostalgic aura of Paulus' 'Was It All a Dream,' part of a larger song cycle, is enhanced by the lyric simplicity of the musical setting and the directness of expression the singer, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, brought to it, with Rohlfing at the keyboard."

-The Chicago Tribune

 

"Stephen Paulus’ 'Was It All a Dream' after Ryökan, came across as rather trivial and poplike, nonetheless given fine advocacy by bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana and accompanist Rohlfing."

-Chicago Classical Review

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THE MET NATIONAL COUNCIL AUDITIONS (MARCH 2013)
"There were an unusual number of low male voices at this year’s auditions, with the standouts including the 28-year-old South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, who impressed with a rich, glowing voice and elegant legato in his two selections, particularly 'Vi ravviso' from Bellini’s 'Sonnambula'.”

-The New York Times

 

“…And now this superb bass-baritone, Musa Ngqungwana (better learn to pronounce it correctly, since he will be a big star soon!). His rendition of the Don Quichotte aria was positively thrilling, and the voice is round and full. (In fact today all of the artists seem to project so very well on the Met stage.). Bravo to this true winner!!”

-Parterre.com

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