Pumeza Matshikiza Profile Photo

Pumeza Matshikiza

Described as "one of today's most exciting new operatic voices" (Independent), South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is one of today’s rising opera stars. An exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, her debut album “Voice of Hope” was released in 2014. Her second album “Arias” with arias by Puccini, Catalani, Ravel and Mozart and songs by Fauré was released in May 2016.


Described as “one of today’s most exciting new operatic voices” (Independent), South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is one of today’s rising opera stars. Being an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, her debut album “Voice of Hope” was released in 2014, featuring arias and traditional and popular African songs. Her second album “Arias” was released in May 2016. 

Pumeza Matshikiza kicks off the 19/20 season in the title role of Dvořák’s Rusalka, at the Opéra National du Rhin. This is her first opera production in Strasbourg after her recital, given there 2 years ago. This new production by Nicola Raab will also be the first time Dvořák’s iconic piece is shown in Strasbourg. As Rusalka she also makes her house debut at Vlaanderen Opera. There the production is staged by Norwegian choreographer Alan Lucien Øyen and therefore it also gives dance an important role in it. This is the third interpretation of Dvořák’s masterpiece, where a soprano takes part, after her successful debut at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in the previous 18/19 season. Besides that, she sings 3 Hymnen of Friedrich Holderin by Richard Strauss together with the WPR orchestra, under Gregor Bühl’s conducting.

In the 18/19 season Pumeza Matshikiza made her US debut performing one of her signature roles, Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, with Dallas Opera. In addition, the soprano gave a recital with Simon Lepper at Opera North in Leeds and solo concerts with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, under Vladimir Fanshil’s conducting, with the Giorquestra, conducted by Carlo Bernini, and with the Folkwang Kammerorchester, under the baton of Johannes Klumpp. Closing the season, she shared the stage with Rolando Villazón at the renowned Grafenegg Festival and the Klassik am Dom Festival Linz and also performed Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish at LvivMozArt Festival. Moreover, she gave singing and acting masterclasses at Prague Summer Nights Festival.

In the 17/18 season, the South African soprano gave a recital in Rio de Janeiro, participated in Dmitry Korchak’s Festival in Novosibirsk, Russia, and sang solo concerts with the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, the Ensemble Conductus and Windkraft at SONORA 701 Festival. The soprano also made her debut with the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, singing Mimì (La Bohème). In July 2016 she also shared the stage with tenor Rolando Villazón under the baton of Duncan Ward, giving an open-air concert at Schloss Salem.

Recent engagements include Pumeza Matshikiza’s debut as Eve in the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s CO2 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The highly acclaimed production was staged by one of the most renowned contemporary opera directors – Robert Carsen, and the libretto written by famous British dramatist Ian Burton. She also sang the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Bread, Water and Salt, based on the famous speech of Nelson Mandela, together with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome; and performed the role of Dido in Dido and Aeneas with the English Concert Orchestra as part of the Bristol Proms series. She appeared at the BBC Proms in the Park and a concert tour with Rolando Villazón that took her to Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Munich’s Gasteig, the Kuppelsaal in Hannover, and the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf and Helsinki. As a five-year ensemble member of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Pumeza Matshikiza appeared as Micaёla (Carmen), Mimì (La Bohème), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Zerlina (Don Giovanni) and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte).

Pumeza Matshikiza studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal College of Music. Roles at the RCM included Marenka (The Bartered Bride), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Concepcion (L’heure espagnole), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea) and Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro). The soprano also participated in masterclasses with renowned artists such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Renata Scotto, Joan Rogers, Paul Farrington, Philip Langridge and Ileana Cotrubas. She has worked with accompanists Paul Montag, Malcolm Martineau, Julius Drake and Simon Lepper.

Pumeza Matshikiza was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House from 2007-2009 and could be heard as Blumenmädchen in Wagner’s Parsifal, Slave in Strauss’ Salome, Innocent (The Minotaur), Witch in Dido and Aeneas, Sandmann (Hänsel und Gretel) and Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, conducted by Antonio Pappano. 2010 Pumeza Matshikiza was awarded with the 1st Prize in the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition and became an Associate Artist of the Classical Opera Company, singing the title role in Mozart’s Zaide for which she was awarded with the Patrick Fyffe-Dame Hilda Brackett Prize.