Soprano Emma Farquharson
Soprano Emma Farquharson

Emma Farquharson first came to prominence at this year’s Grahamstown Art Festival when she performed in the Fringe under the same heading “Opera Found “in her solo debut. Her Fringe production drew full houses on the three days she appeared and won her a Standard Bank Encore Ovation Award.

This is hardly surprising being that this extremely talented young lady has already, at only the age of 22, shown great future promise in the operatic field. Opera Found? Emma explained that when she was a little girl of ten how she hated Opera and made this quite clear to both her parents who were opera lovers.


At the age of eleven, Emma discovered that rather than hate opera she began to enjoy it and started to read and sing some of the operatic arias and became amazed in the way that her voice had changed. Her voice further developed when she attended Rhodes University under the voice coach and mentor of Miss Jo-Nette Le Kay who is herself an established and internationally known soprano.

That Emma shows great confidence in her performances and it is more than obvious to all  that not only does she sing with great depth and feeling and confidence  but she also thoroughly enjoys singing her well-rehearsed arias which  cover a broad spectrum of music and composers’ works frequently embellishing these arias to be in character of the song.

Showing not the slightest sign of stage fright and oozing confidence  Emma sang faultlessly mostly without refereeing to sheet music and worked artistically with her accompanist Garreth Robertson.

There is now little doubt that this young lady will go far in her chosen operatic career and this could well be enhanced as  I understand that there will be some international visitors and examiners visiting here next year to assess the musical talent we have here in South Africa. Miss Jo-Nette L Kay mentioned that she will be sure to draw their attention to Emma Farquharson.

After much training and exercises, Emma’s voice is currently what is referred to as in the musical choral world a ‘coloratura soprano. Coloratura when used without further qualification normally means soprano di coloratura and many well known and loved operatic works include such a voice in their cast.

Emma’s programme at the Castle’s 40th Anniversary in Port Alfred included many well-known arias from popular and not so well known operatic works which included, Hugo Wolf, Herbert Smith Edith Piaf, Lerner & Loewe besides the well-known operatic composers, Mozart, Puccini, Handel and Strauss. – Peter Grist

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