Rabbit roulade with omelette rolls.
Rabbit roulade with omelette rolls.
Image: Supplied

This weekend will see the Cape Town Opera take up residency within the Vinyard Hotel's show kitchen, performing a medley of food-themed operatic works paired with a special menu.

A collaboration between the Newlands Hotel and Cape Town Opera will see the hosting of four unique performances, the first of which took place last night (Thursday, March 31) and will run until early April.

The Vineyard’s acclaimed chefs, Mike Bassett and Evan Coosner, have created a once-off, five-course menu for the special evenings, which have been conceptualised to "pair" with each of the performances.

The show, under the musical direction of José Dias, will treat guests to the likes of Bernstein’s Four Recipes for Voice and Piano, Bach’s unique secular Coffee Cantata and a musical monologue by American composer Lee Hoiby, from which the performance takes its name, Bon Appétit!

“When we decided to present a selection of food-themed operatic works, I looked to the chosen pieces for menu inspiration,” said chef Mike.

Bernstein’s La Bonne Cuisine, for instance, includes references to recipes for plum pudding, oxtail and a fast-cooked rabbit stew, among others. Then you’ve got Bach’s Coffee Cantata, Bizet’s Omelette Quartet and Weill’s Ice Cream Sextet. 

Perceptive diners and fans of libretto will notice the themes from each of the songs and arias incorporated through the meal, which includes dishes such as oxtail croquettes with a plum puree, a coffee martini, rabbit roulade served with omelette rolls, pistachio ice cream with a milk pudding and finally, a chocolate cake pop.

“It’s an evening for adventurous diners who love opera and we are so looking forward to it!” says the chef.

Evan Coosner, Executive Chef of The Restaurant at The Vineyard Hotel and Magdalene Minnaar, Artistic Director of Cape Town Opera.
Evan Coosner, Executive Chef of The Restaurant at The Vineyard Hotel and Magdalene Minnaar, Artistic Director of Cape Town Opera.
Image: Annène van Eeden

Cape Town Opera’s Artistic Director Magdalene Minnaar (who started her tenure with the company at the beginning of this year) has devised this one-of-a-kind evening. It’s but one of the first in a series of several unique event offerings this year that are aimed to thrill both seasoned opera-goers and new audiences, by taking the performances into spaces they may usually not be expected.

It's an approach aligned to the company’s 2022 theme of diversity, sustainability and creativity.

“In the post-Covid climate, we have to attend to the entire ecology of opera, and we’re continuously exploring creative ways to serve audiences and expand our reach,” she said. “The one gift that Covid gave us was the opportunity to think out the box. We are wanting to also present opera outside of the theatre space at interesting locations and site-specific venues, and the Vineyard Hotel is a marvelous fit.”

Comprising of a cast of six, the performance will take place right in front of the show kitchen, which has been transformed into the stage area for the evenings. The showcase has been supported by Simonsig, who have provided the wines to accompany the meals.

Soprano Janelle Visagie, who has been awarded prestigious Fleur du Cap Theatre Awards in 2015 for her role as the Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music at Artscape and Elle in La Voix Humaine in 2019, joins Ané Pretorius (soprano), Jodie Khan (soprano), Siphesihle Mdena (tenor), Van Wyk Venter (baritone) and Garth Delport (bass) for this performance of Bon Appétit!

Bon Appétit! runs till Sunday April 3 2022 at 19h00. Tickets cost R950 per person.

Book tickets at Quicket.

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