The “powerful bass-baritone” (Wall Street Journal) Musa Ngqungwana, a native of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, has been praised by The New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato,” while the The Arts Desk describes him as having “striking stage presence and a dignity that never falters”.
In the 2022-2023 season, Musa makes his house debut with the Royal Danish Opera, returning to the role of Amonasro in Verdi’s Aida, which he last sang at his house debut with English National Opera at the London Coliseum in 2017. Additional appearances include singing Dr. Bartolo in The Barber of Seville at Austin Opera and Count Capulet in Roméo et Juliette at the Florentine Opera, plus a return engagement with On Site Opera for their production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.
Possessing a voice hailed as “gorgeously resonant” by Limelight Magazine, highlights of Musa’s recent seasons include singing Vodnik in Rusalka at Garsington Opera and Edinburgh International Festival; Lord Krishna in Satyagraha at English National Opera; Intolleranza 1960 at Salzburg Festival; Fidelio at the Austin Opera; Dulcamara in The Elixir of Love at Palm Beach Opera; and I Puritani at Washington Concert Opera.
A versatile performer, Musa has been recognized for his talent in both dramatic and lighter roles, his portrayals described as being “played with anguished magnificence” (The Guardian) as well as “brilliantly comedic” (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). Musa has received critical acclaim for his portrayal of the title role in Porgy and Bess, appearing at the Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National, Atlanta, Grange Park, and Malmö Operas, and with the Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra as well as the Frankfurt Radio Symphony. He has sung the role of Queequeg in Moby Dick at the Los Angeles, Dallas, Pittsburgh, and Utah Operas; as well as Zuniga in Carmen at the Philadelphia, Norwegian National, and Palm Beach Operas. Additional productions include turns as Angelotti in Tosca at Canadian Opera Company, Gottardo in La gazza ladra at Glimmerglass Festival, and at Washington National Opera as Colline in La bohème, where he also sang the role of Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars.
Musa has been featured in concert with the Philadelphia Orchestra; Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s Songfest on its Opening Night concert; and as Pythéas in Sapho with Washington Concert Opera, the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra and U.S. Naval Academy, plus the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.
In 2014, Musa was nominated for the Marian Anderson Award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC., and was the Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions in 2013.
Musa graduated with Honors in Performance (First Class) from the University of Cape Town and is a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia. He is the author of the
memoir Odyssey of an African Opera Singer, which was published in South Africa by Penguin Random House.
For more information, please visit www.musangqungwana.com.