Mozart in the Moot, Pretoria: An opera in a tea cup

Since 2011, Sempre Opera has promoted opera by presenting concerts and full productions of this art form.This year, Sempre Operapresents another full-length opera, this time in English: Mozart’s very first little opera, Bastien & Bastienna, composed when he was merely 12 years old. This little one act comedy was composed in 1768 and performed by amateurs in a small theatre in the garden of Dr Messner, a friend of the Mozart family.

The libretto was a German rendition, by Weiskern, of a French operetta based on an intermezzo by the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. The story is told of Bastien and Bastienna’s pains and pleasure in love, as well as the very funny role that Colas, a would-be magician, plays in their lives.

One of Sempre Opera’s main objects is to train young opera singers in the art of performance and stagecraft, and cast them together with experienced singers in productions. With this little opera, three young sopranos are introduced: Ailyn Nienaber is a BMus second year student from the University of Pretoria and sings the role of Bastienna; Stéphanie-Claire Hansen of Afrikaans Hoër Meisieskool Pretoria and Reine Opperman of Menlopark Hoërskool can be heard respectively as this heroine in her dream. The well-known tenor Chris Mostert sings Bastien and the magician is sung by bass-baritone Rex Nigrini. The soprano Deirdré Blignaut-Rautenbach directs the opera and Schalk van der Merwe conducts the Sempre Opera Instrumental Ensemble.

Sempre Opera’s partner in this production is the NG Kerk (Dutch Reform Church), Villieria. They have been promoting classical music in the Moot since 2014 with their popular Autumn and Halleluja Concerts.

This production is staged in the Church Hall of the NG Gemeente Villieria, 571 24th Avenue, on Friday 9 Octoberat 19:00 and Saturday 10 Octoberat 15:00. Ticketsfor Bastien & Bastienna is available at R100 for adults and R80 for pensioners, students and pupils for Friday night. For pensioners, a special offer of only R50 per ticket is available for Saturday afternoon.Tickets may also be booked and paid for at  and will be available at the doors as well. Those interested in more information may send an email to