Frequently Asked Questions

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Vancouver, British columbia, Canada

Siphiwe is a Swahili name from central Africa and it means 'we have been given'

I always sang as a child .  I can remember singing children's songs as young as four years old.  My full interest really started when I was seven years old when I started taking piano lessons.

As a child and teenager I  competed in song festivals and did quite well, I was also singing in two choirs at that time, had regular voice, piano and music theory lessons not to mention regular instruction in classical ballet. It was clear that I had a natural talent for singing and it was at that point that I asked myself why not do something that is fun and that I enjoy  as a  job and career. 
 
The opera end of it came into play one day as a suggestion from my mother.  You see, we had season tickets at the opera and before that I went quite regularily to the theater.  My parents were big supporters of the arts and I had already seen my first play at age six 'Twelth Knight' by Shakespeare, I  will never forget it, I was mesmorized by the world of the theatre! It was magical!
 
I  saw a lot of live theatre as a child.  I saw not only many theatre plays but also many live dance companies like Alvin Ailey, the Kiev ballet etc..I also saw a lot of chamber music concerts and saw my first opera when I was nine years old 'Rigoletto'.  I will never forget that performance, seeing some slightly over plump man singing 'la donna é mobile' in the shower!
 
From all my exposure to the theatre I really had wanted to become an actress.  My mother saw that the singing talent was quite natural and as I had a knack for theatre and performing why not combine my passion for acting with singing and that is how it all started, my journey to becoming an opera singer was born!

When I was a teenager I sang in a jazz choir at my high school.  I really love jazz music and all kinds of music in general.  I wish I could actually sing jazz but alas, it would need a lot of time and discipline to dedicate so that it would sound legit. 
 
I often include Steven Sondheim songs and spirituals in my recital programs .  I find in particular the Sondheim songs wonderful as they are the perfect combination between classical and jazz standards. 
 
I think the coolest sound  though is combining classical music with popular music, a kind of 'crossover' blend.  I would love to cut a track of an operatic melody and combine it with a song by Tiesto or Bob St.Clar, that would be a very interesting combination, classical meeting the cool sounds of hip hop!

I came to Europe in September 2000 when I was engaged as a soloist in a fixed position at the Nürnberg State Opera Theatre.

I think that 'Luciafrom Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor and  'Violetta' from Verdi's La Traviata were the most important and influential roles so far.

I decided to go 'freelance' in 2005 for many reasons.  The main reason was that I wanted more freedom to decide on what projects I wanted to do and when, I wanted to be my own boss. 
 
At that time I had received enough exposure and repertoire during my years in Nürnberg and I felt that it was time to become fully independent.  As well, I wanted to achieve  a certain quality from life.
 

Ahhhhh the list is long, but I will try to be brief.
 
I have a huge passion for the kitchen. I simply love everything that has to do with the word 'cooking' and 'kitchen';whether it is making food, buying it, looking for rare cook books, finding cool kitchen utensils, finding new and authentic recipes, having dinner parties, finding super ways to decorate the table, inviting people over to eat. A lot of my creative process goes into spending time in this haven of places.
 
When I'm on the road and at home I cook a lot and I love to go to food markets, if that can be called a hobby. Because of all the traveling I do I have accumulated a list of things I love to do when I enter a new city and right at the top of the list is discovering the local outdoor food market.  It is incredible the things one sees and tries for the first time upon entering this oassis.  You have to go with an open mind and an empty basket of course!
 
When I am not in the kitchen I love to read, watch movies and listen to music.    I especially love collecting Bollywood movies, these movies give me a sense of freedom and activate my artistic imagination.  I also love to go power walking or running.
 
I also have a passion for languages and when I can I try to either brush up on the languages I have already learnt or try and undertake a new one, I invest the time.   My latest fascination is with the Portuguese language, it is incredibly romantic, fluid and so soft!
 
Other than the things I have listed I can't think of anything else except keeping in touch with family and friends.  This is very important to me and I devote a lot of time staying in touch with those that are dear to me.  In living halfway around the world from my family I am always in contact and spend a lot of time keeping the connection 'alive' with those dear to me, it is the essence of life!
 
If you wish to leave a question please fell free to do so or contact me at sipopera@gmail.com.