Lionel Mkhwanazi, a former member of the Black Tie Ensemble, is a Soweto-born lyric tenor who is employed as a Voice Lecturer at the Opera School and Choral Academy (OSCA) at the University of KwaZulu-Natal.

He was driven to develop his talent while singing in youth choirs. Heading for Durban as an eager 20-year-old, he landed the role of Tamino in Mozart’s The Magic Flute, staged by Opera Africa and like so many young singers, he went on to study at the University of Cape Town’s School of Opera gaining invaluable experience in productions staged by Cape Town’s Opera Studio. Lionel completed his music education at ……………

He is excited about the talent at OSCA and relishes performing alongside his students, an experience he himself cherished as a UCT student, singing with his own teacher, Brad Liebl. “Durban is a big city, we need to think big in our field, and work together to turn ourselves around,” says Lionel. “Internationally, KwaZulu-Natal is known for its untold vocal riches. To an overwhelming extent these are still waiting to be mined and developed for the benefit of our artists themselves, while fulfilling the vast cultural tourism potential of our city and our region. We need to help create an industry for this to happen. Local opera, along with its indigenous sister performance art forms, can and will thrive if nurtured from within.”