Organist improvises ‘The Phantom of the Opera’ in Aardklop performance


Zorada Temmingh is regarded as one of South Africa’s leading organ improvisers and on Sunday 6 August, lovers of classical music can experience her performances first hand.

The execution Phantom of the Opera with Zorada Temmingh is presented by Momentum Beleggings Aardklop Aubade at the Afrikaans Hoër Seunskool (Affies) in Pretoria.

Phantom of the Opera takes place in an opera house, where the Phantom himself slides in behind the organ. A soundtrack based on organ music is a striking reimagining of the piece.

Audiences will watch the film during this Aardklop screening while Temming improvises on a variety of well-known 19th-century opera music – arias and choruses, which bring about an intertextuality between the original aria and the current situation in the film. The relevant arias and ballets from Gounod’s Faust are played when they appear in the movie.

Other composers’ works performed include Wagner and Verdi, Saint-Saëns and Offenbach, Puccini and Bellini, and Donizetti. Some of the music is Temmingh’s own work, such as the Phantom theme with its surprisingly static chords along with virtuosic runs on the pedals.

Temmingh was the first South African to improvise a soundtrack on the organ while the audience watched a silent film. It was on the 1925 film, The Hunchback of Notre Dameand for this performance Temmingh received a special KKNK Kanna in 2006 for her boundary-pushing contribution to classical music.

The concert starts at 11:00. Tickets for the show cost R190 and R150 and can be booked at Ticketpro. Send an email to (email protected) for more information about the Aardklop Aubade concert series.