University of Pretoria honours opera legend Mimi Coertse
By Nicolize Mulder
Posted on 14 June 2012
Prof Antony Melck raises his glass to legendary opera singer Mimi Coertse. She attended a very special 80th birthday party at UP on Tuesday.
The legendary opera singer Mimi Coertse turned 80 on Tuesday and the University of Pretoria (UP) rolled out the red carpet to pay tribute to this great lady and the role she has played in discovering, nurturing and moulding music talent in South Africa.
The purpose of the event was also to raise funds for the Mimi Coertse Vocal Scholarship that provides financial aid to singers younger than 30 to enable them to further their studies at a tertiary institution.
Mimi Coertse started the bursary at UP in 1959 due to her own struggle for support for her studies overseas. UP has been administering and awarding the Scholarship since 1960, with the late tenor Gert Potgieter being the first recipient. South African singers who have received this coveted bursary have established themselves as leading opera singers in South Africa as well as abroad.
A long list of well-known names in the music and entertainment industry like Steve Hofmeyr, Rina Hugo, Coenie de Villiers and Carike Keuzenkamp attended the gala concert on Tuesday to bring homage to Onse Mimi. On stage operatic artists such as Hanli Stapela, Antoinette Olivier, Teresa de Wit, Hanneli Rupert, Loveline Madumo, Dewald von Solms, Stéfan Louw, and Coert Grobbelaar was supported by the Johannesburg Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Hankinson. Nataniël made a special appearance while the evening’s proceedings were presided over by André Schwartz.