Knowing Me, Knowing You — Ms Laura Opperman (née Van der Merwe) [alumna]
Instrument(s) / Discipline(s):
Voice, Piano, Choir Conducting.
Period of study at the NWU School of Music / PU for CHE Department of Music:
1994-1999 & 2002-2004.
Qualifications completed at the NWU / PU for CHE:
BMus, HED, Hons BEd.
Qualifications completed elsewhere:
UNISA Performer’s Licentiate.
Notable professional achievements:
• I was at the very young age of 26 Head of Music at a private school in Botswana and from there I was always very lucky to get the HoD positions.
• In 2004 I was Head of Expressive Arts at Westwood International School, working with the renowned SA artist, Erica Hibbert.
• In June 2015 I will be going to the Juilliard Performing Arts School in New York to participate in master classes and workshops for Nord Anglia Education.
Current professional position / occupation:
Expressive Arts Coordinator – Compass International School, Al Khor – Qatar.
Top 5 must-hear music:
1. Bach — Cello Suit No. 1, Prelude by Yo-Yo Ma
2. O mio babbino caro by Kiri Te Kanawa
3. Aandblom is ‘n Witblom by Erica Eloff
4. I Want You Bach by The Piano Guys
5. I Got Rhythm by Ella Fitzgerald
Which personal music experiences are most memorable to you?
• When we lived in India (Pune, 2006) I went to a concert of a tour group from the USA and they invited me to perform impromptu “Voi Che Sapete” from Figaro.
• I performed for the Royal Family Sheik Mohamed Al Thani of Qatar at the Diplomatic Club in 2011. I received a Prada bag as a thank you gesture.
• This year my school choir went to a mass choir performance and I was the soloist singing “Adiemus” from Karl Jenkins in front of an audience of 2000 people.
Top 5 must-read books:
1. Bidsprinkaan by André P Brink
2. Maria Callas: An Intimate Biography by Anne Edwards
3. Toorbos by Dalene Matthee
4. Long Walk to Freedeom by Nelson Mandela
5. Goodbye, Mr Chips by James Hilton
“The only thing better than singing is more singing.” — Ella Fitzgerald
Top 5 must-see movies:
1. Amadeus (1984)
2. Amadeus (1984)
3. Amadeus (1984)
5. The Gods Must Be Crazy
Which television show(s) can you watch over and over again?
Chocolate in any form.
How do you relax?
Reading a book, having a glass of red wine and the smell of the Arabic night.
Married to Chris Opperman, one son — Chris Daniel Opperman.
Which places would you still like to visit?
If travel was for free, you would never see me … Tanzania, Kenya, Russia, Japan, Mexico, and many more …
What are your funniest / fondest memories of your time at the Conservatory?
The times we worked on the opera with Prof Werner Nel. We would spend hours in the hall: Erica Eloff, Ernst Labuschagne, Adda Mutai, Michael Dingaan and me trying to please Prof Nel, who was not easy to please