“It is South African tenor Zwakele Tshabalala who demonstrated a properly huge voice, as Hot Biscuit Slim”
(Seen and Heard, May 2019)
South African tenor Zwakele Tshabalala is currently studying for his Master of Performance degree at the Royal College of Music, London, where he has been awarded a full scholarship. On the professional stage, he most recently appeared in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9 under Marin Alsop at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Prior to that his performances as Hot Biscuit Slim in English National Opera’s critically acclaimed Paul Bunyan at Alexandra Palace highlighted him as a standout soloist and a young talent to watch. In the current season, Zwakele makes his house debut at Theater an der Wien as Sportin’ Life in Porgy & Bess. Further ahead he joins the Hallé Orchestra for a Valentine’s concert of Opera Arias & Duets under Eduardo Strausser.
Born in South Africa, Zwakele joined the Drakensberg Boys Choir at a young age and was then a member of the South African Youth Choir in 2009. An invitation to join the South African College of Music followed in 2012, where he studied for a performance diploma in opera under the supervision of Virginia Davids and Khamal Khan. Zwakele made his operatic debut at the opera school, as Giuseppe in La traviata in 2013, and in 2016 was the winner of The Schock Foundation Prize for Singing at the University of Cape Town.
“The young Zwakele Tshabalala delighted as a mercurial Sportin’ Life who avoided any risk of sinking into caricature.”
(Opera Critic, October 2020)
“But that doesn’t mean we can’t be stirred… when the ringing tenor of Zwakele Tshabalala enters as the loggers’ new cook.”
The Times, May 2019
“Two soloists stand out from the pack… Zwakele Tshabalala bursting with energy as the dashing cook Hot Biscuit Slim.”
Bachtrack, May 2019
“but it is South African tenor Zwakele Tschabalala who demonstrated a properly huge voice, as Hot Biscuit Slim. The pairing of Tshabalala and Rowan Pierce (as Tiny, Paul Bunyan’s daughter), was inspired casting.”