Knowing Me, Knowing You — Mr Jacques le Roux [alumnus]
Instrument(s) / Discipline(s):
Period of study at the NWU School of Music / PU for CHE Department of Music:
Qualifications completed at the NWU / PU for CHE:
Qualifications completed elsewhere:
Dipl.RAP — Opera studio Nederlandse Reisopera (Enschede), 2007
Notable professional achievements:
• The Ulrich Burchardt Award — Artist of the Year 2010, Germany
• Young Artist of the Year Award 2011 — Deutsches Bühnenverein
• Honorary member of the Deutsches Theaterverein Südthüringisches Staatsoper
• Honorary member of the Austrian Freunde des Musiktheaters
• Nominated for the Richard Tauber Medal 2014, Austria
• Singing the lead role in the world première of the Philip Glass opera, The Lost
• Nominated by the International Opera Awards for première of the Year 2013 — The Lost
• Performing at the opening ceremony of the new opera house in Linz, Austria (2013)
• Performing at the opening ceremony of the new Festspielhaus in Erl, Austria (2012)
• Founding the Jacques le Roux Organization for students and children with insufficient financial support for music training in Africa and South America in 2010
Top 5 must-hear music:
1. Richard Strauss — Der Rosenkavalier (Yes, the WHOLE four-hour opera!)
2. Claude Debussy — La Mer
3. Franz Schubert — Piano Sonata, D.960
4. Ottorino Respighi — Pini di Roma, 4th mvt. I pini della via appia
5. Gustav Mahler — 8th Symphony (Symphony of a Thousand)
Which personal music experiences are most memorable to you?
• Storming into the wrong hall in Vienna for an orchestra rehearsal where Georgian pianist Elizabeth Leonskaja was rehearsing the 3rd Beethoven piano concerto and was so irritated with me bursting in, that she stopped the rehearsal and forced me to sit down and listen to her playing the second movement with the Vienna Radio Symphony Orchestra. When the movement was finished she turned to me and said: “This was just for you, now you may leave”. I have had worse punishments. Needless to say, I was really late for my own rehearsal, but everybody envied me!
• My role debut as Tamino in Die Zauberflöte under the baton of Maestro Franz Welser-Möst (Musical director of the Vienna State Opera).
• Meeting Philip Glass and working intensively with him for 6 weeks on the opera The Lost (Spuren der Verirrten) and having long discussions about how to make the best pizza dough.
• Singing the whole L’elisir d’amore in the pouring rain at the Open-Air Eutiner Seefestspiele in Germany and having to sing a DA CAPO of “Una furtiva lagrima” to a wonderful appreciative, sadistic audience that would not budge.
Top 5 must-read books:
1. Appassionata by Jilly Cooper (Laughing at musical stereotypes — Hilarious!!)
2. Glenn Gould Letters by Michael Stegemann (An intense acquaintance with the mind and the genius of Canadian pianist Glenn Gould.)
3. Fiela se Kind by Daleen Mathee (An Afrikaans classic.)
4. Score by Jilly Cooper (A comical look at the drama behind opera. I love Jilly Cooper books.)
5. People of the Lie by M. Scott Peck (How to recognize venomous people and avoid them at all cost.)
• “You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” — Mae West
• “Opera singers balance themselves on that thin line between the sublime and the ridiculous. They can even be described as ridiculously sublime or sublimely ridiculous.” — Leonard Bernstein
• “Success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.” — Winston Churchill
• “Make peace with it. You will be a student for the rest of your life.” — Luciano Pavarotti
Top 5 must-see movies:
3. The Help
4. My Sister’s Keeper
5. The Life of Pi
Which television show(s) can you watch over and over again?
Mostly brain-dead Britcoms like: Allo Allo, Absolutely Fabulous, Fawlty Towers and Keeping Up Appearances
Freshly baked, warm bread with salted butter, whole fig jam and biltong.
Black current juice with soda water — Diplomatic Choice
Ginger and lemon tea with honey — Professional Vocal Choice
Gin and Tonic — Personal Private Party Choice
How do you relax?
Desperately, IN SILENCE, with no music and NO PEOPLE!!! Mostly in a wonderful Spa in the Alps about 50km away from my house in Austria (when I’m home).
Which places would you still like to visit?
Thailand (Phuket), Turkey (Istanbul), Israel (the Dead Sea), and my friend’s farm near Gobabis in Namibia.
What are your funniest / fondest memories of your time at the Conservatory?
• Fondest Memories: Learning the ropes of the profession and studying voice with the great Prof Werner Nel. Having the opportunity to learn and perform chamber music with/from Dr Truida van der Walt and Mr Waldo Weyer. Prof Daleen Kruger lovingly and patiently teaching me how to sing baroque ornamentations. Spending evenings with Dr Martin Watt talking about contemporary compositions and composers. And last but not least, having aural training with the divine Ms Dirkie Nell: “Jacques, soek die klavier … en speel alles in E”.
• Funniest Memories: Playing hide and seek in a darkened organ hall after practicing with my “partners in crime” and then jumping over the swimming pool wall at the back of the Conservatory for a midnight swim with a bottle of red wine. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE!!!!
• Dear fellow student, Wynand de Villiers, singing “Ek kan rock in my taal” at a kitch concert. It was a life-changing experience.