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South African Music Collections
Anna Bender Collection
Anna Bender Photo Gallery
Mimi Coertse Collection

The South African singer, who par excellence has caught the imagination of and made the strongest impact on both South African and overseas critics and public alike, is Mimi Coertse.

She left South Africa in September 1953 for London, and then via The Hague to Vienna. She arrived in Vienna in January 1954 and started training with Maria Hittorff and Josef Witt. Less than three years later she got a permanent engagement at the Vienna State Opera. In January 1955 she made her first appearance on the professional opera stage as the First Flower girl in Wagner's "Parsifal" at the Teatro San Carlo in Naples, Karl Böhm conducting.

On 17th March 1956 she made her debut at the Vienna State Opera as Queen of the Night in "The Magic Flute" (Mozart), and her rise to fame in the five years since that memorable evening in Vienna can only be described as meteoric - with Mimi continuing to extend her repertoire to include the principal roles in all the major operas and operettas staged in and broadcast and televised from opera houses ranking among the world's best.


Her repertoire at present also includes: Constance - "Die Entführing aus dem Serail" (Mozart), Zerbinetta - "Ariadne auf Naxos" (Strauss), Gilda "Rigoletto" (Verdi), the three principal female parts -''Tales of Hoffmann" (Offenbach), the Angel - "Palestrina" (Pfitzner), Frasquita - "Carmen" (Bizet), Martha "Martha" (Flotow), Philine - "Mignon" (Thomas), Violetta - "La Traviata" (Verdi), female leads "An Irish Legend" (Egk) and "Unverhofftes Begegnen" (Haydn), Nedda - "I Pagliacci" (Leoncavallo), Fiaker-Milli ''Arabella" (Strauss), Bastienne "Bastien and Bastienne" (Mozart), Hanna Glawari "The Merry Widow" (Lehar), Lucia - "Lucia di Lammermoor" (Donizetti), Rosalinde "Die Fledermaus" (Strauss), Donna Elvira "Don Giovanni" (Mozart), Musetta "La Boheme" (Puccini), Norma "Norma'" (Bellini) and Fiordiligi - "Cosi fan tutte" (Mozart).

She has sung in theatres at The Hague, Naples, Dusseldorf, Brussels, Graz, Turin, Covent Garden, Salzburg, Linz, Glyndebourne, Aix-en-Provence, Barcelona, Athens, Melk, Stuttgart and Palermo and with conductors like Karl Böhm, Vittorio Gui, Heinrich Hollreiser, Herbert von Karajan, Josef' Keilberth, Rudolf Kempe, Josef Krips, Rafael Kubelik, Erich Leinsdorf, Lorin Maazel, Rudolf Moralt, John Pritchard, Argeo Quadri, Mario Rossi, Sir Malcolm Sargent, Herman Scherchen, (sir) Georg Solti, Hans Swarowsky, Antonino Votto, Edouard van Remoortel, Wilhelm Loibner, Georg Szell and Dimitri Mitropoulos.

Among the famous singers who have partnered her were Erich Kunz, Hilde Gueden, Helge Roswaenge, Boris Christoff, Waldemar Kmentt, Guiseppe Zampieri, Johannes Heesters, Otto Edelmann, Rudolf Schock, Sena Jurinac, Rudolf Christ, Christa Ludwig, Teresa Stich-Randall, Walter Berry, Julius Patzak, Otto Wiener and Anton Dermota.

Stefans Grové Collection
Professor Stefans Grové is one of South Africa’s best known composers. Since 1973 he was involved with the Music Department of the University of Pretoria. After his retirement in 2002 he decided to donate all his compositions to the Africana Music Collection at the University of Pretoria. This collection that was donated by Professor Grové is characterized by its versatility.

Some of the works include:
“Sonata for flute and piano” – 1955
“Kettingrye” - 1978
“Drie geestelike liedere” - 1980
“Stamdans” - 1980
“Liedere en danse uit Afrika” – 1990
“Wals van die olifantjie” 1991.

Sarie Lamprecht Collection
Sarie Lamprecht was born in 1923 and comes from George in the Cape Province. She received her first singing instruction from Beatrice Gibson in Cape Town, and in 1953 went to Austria, where she continued her studies in Vienna. During that time she concentrated mainly on the Lied and Oratorio, of which she acquired an extensive knowledge.

Since 1957 Miss Lamprecht has been living in Johannesburg, where she has acquired a wide reputation as a teacher of singing. Her regular solo performances on the air have demonstrated her extensive repertoire, which includes both classical and modern music.

She is well known as a soloist with the SABC Symphony Orchestra and attracted criticism for her appearance in Verdi's Requiem, which was given by the Cape Town Municipal Orchestra conducted by David Tidboald. As radio artist she is particularly lauded for her excellent interpretations of the German song.

Marita Napier Collection (view presentation)
Marita Napier has established herself internationally as an exponent of the music of Wagner and Richard Strauss, having sung numerous works by these composers throughout the world. Born in Johannesburg she is one of three South African born opera singers who have achieved opera's Grand Slam, having sung lead roles at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan and Covent Garden in London.

Ms Napier has performed 19 productions of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelugen at Covent Garden, La Scala, the Metropolitan and in San Francisco, Bayreuth, Vienna and all major opera houses in Europe. She also received the Grammy Award for the Metropolitan recording of Die Walküre
For CAPAB Opera she sang Leonore in Fidelio and Santa in Der fliegende Holländer. At the Pretoria State Theatre she sang Electra in ldomeneo and Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, and at Roodepoort Puccini's heroine Tosca and Leonore in Fidelio. She was also the soloist in Roodepoort in the South African premiere of Gorecki's Third Symphony


Ms Napier is a world-renowned interpreter of Chrysothemis in Strauss' Elektra (on occasion opposite Birgit Nilsson in the title role) in San Francisco, Belgrade, Basle and Stuttgart. One of her greatest achievements was performing at the Bayreuth Festival, whilst she was voted 'Voice of America' for her Senta in Der fliegende Holländer in San Francisco in the late Seventies. She holds the distinction of singing for one of the biggest television audiences in the world ever when she gave a concert in Beijing on the Met tour to China. She has sung under conductors such as Levine, Mehta, Sawallisch, Colin Davis and Boulez, among others.

She started her association with CAPAB Opera in 1976 when she returned for the first time to South Africa to sing Senta in Der fliegende Holländer, after which she sang Leonore in Fidelio, Leonora in La Forza Del Destino, Brunnhilde in Die Walküre, Santuzza in Cavalleria Rusticana, Abigaille in Nabucco, Lady Macbeth in Verdi's Macbeth, Princess Turandot in Turandot and Bessie Lutter in Roelof Temmingh's Sacred Bones at the NICO.

She recorded the Mother in Humperdinck's Hänsel and Gretel with the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra under Horst Stein. She has many recordings to her credit, among others Beethoven's Choral Symphony under Seiji Ozawa and Schönberg's Gurrelieder under Pierre Boulez as well as Kurt Weill's opera Der Zar Lasst sich Photographieren.

Ms Napier has also recorded Das Rheingold and Die Walküre.

FZ van der Merwe Collection
Dr. FZ van der Merwe was a medical doctor with an exceptional interest in the identification, collection and preservation of South African sheet music. His collection, which he bequeathed to the University of Pretoria, now forms the basis of the F Z van der Merwe Sheet Music Collection. However, he also left a sum of money of which the interest is used on an ongoing basis for the further expansion of the collection. Why is this collection not integrated with the rest of the University of Pretoria's music collection? In deference to the wishes of Dr. F Z van der Merwe the collection is maintained separately and made available, under supervision, to researchers only. This collection may rightly be described as the largest and most comprehensive collection of South African sheet music in the world.
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