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An interesting twist on world-famous opera

In a first, the Tshwane University of Technology’s Department of Performing Arts (Opera) contemporised the setting of one of the world’s most popular operas to make it more accessible to a young modern audience and draw some attention to some historical facts in the City of Tshwane.

The Department has therefore renamed Gaetano Donizetti’s opera, L’elisir D’amore, which originally takes place in a village setting in rural Italy, to Bhekamina, which takes place in Marabastad on Heritage Day. However, the production, which will also be staged as part of TUT’s Arts Festival in September, will still be performed in Italian.

The production is staged in the hope of highlighting an area that suffered the same forced removals as District Six in Cape Town and other places in the country. These sites have become international tourist sites and have been upgraded and restored to their original glory. Why not upgrade the heart and pulse of our capital’s inner city?

Bhekamina is a romantic comedy. The young Nemorino is in love with Adina, who runs a fashion shop in Marabastad. Adina is not interested in the poor Nemorino. Dressed in traditional costume, the police sergeant, Belcore, arrives in Boom Street and proposes to Adina. Dulcamara, a false pastor and traditional healer, arrives and sells his muti to everyone. Nemorino buys umuti wothando (an elixir of love) from him to make Adina fall in love with him. It is, in fact, just wine.

Nemorino displays Dutch courage derived from alcohol and is unaware that his uncle has died and left him lots of money. Suddenly, all the girls are after him. With a couple more twists in the story, who knows, Will Nemorino get the girl or not?

Bhekamina will be performed at the Breytenbach Theatre, 137 Gerhard Moerdyk Street, Sunnyside, Pretoria, on 20, 22 and 30 September at 19:00, and 27 September at 13:00.

Tickets are R70 per person, R35 for students, and R50 per ticket for block bookings of 10 people or more.

Tickets are available from Webtickets: TUT Arts Festival (

For more information, please contact the Breytenbach Theatre at

Come, see, laugh and be entertained.

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