One of today's most exciting new operatic voices

The Independent

South African lyric soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is one of today’s rising opera stars. An exclusive Decca Classics recording artist, her debut album ‘Voice of Hope’ was released in 2014. Her second album ‘Arias’ was released in May 2016.


Described as “one of today’s most exciting new operatic voices” (Independent), South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza is a rising star of her generation. She is an exclusive Decca Classics recording artist; her debut album “Voice of Hope” was released in 2014, featuring arias and traditional and popular African songs. Her second album “Arias” was released in May 2016.

Pumeza Matshikiza kicks off the 2019/20 season in the title role of Dvořák’s Rusalka at the Opéra National du Rhin. This is her first opera production in Strasbourg after her recital, given there 2 years ago. This new production by Nicola Raab will also be the first time Dvořák’s iconic piece is shown in Strasbourg. As Rusalka she also makes her house debut at Vlaanderen Opera. There the production is staged by Norwegian choreographer Alan Lucien Øyen. This will be Pumeza’s third production of Dvořák’s masterpiece, after her successful debut at the Stadttheater Klagenfurt in the 2018/19 season. Additionally this season, she sings3 Hymnen of Friedrich Holderin by Richard Strauss with the WPR orchestra, under Gregor Bühl’s conducting.


In the 2018/19 season Pumeza Matshikiza made her US debut performing one of her signature roles, Mimì in Puccini’s La Bohème, with The Dallas Opera. She gave a recital with Simon Lepper at Opera North in Leeds and solo concerts with the Bilkent Symphony Orchestra, under Vladimir Fanshil’s baton; with the Giorquestra, conducted by Carlo Bernini; and with the Folkwang Kammerorchester, under the direction of Johannes Klumpp. Closing the season, she shared the stage with Rolando Villazón at the renowned Grafenegg Festival and the Klassik am Dom Festival Linz, and also performed Leonard Bernstein’s Kaddish at LvivMozArt Festival. Moreover, she gave singing and acting masterclasses at Prague Summer Nights Festival.

In the 2017/18 season, the South African soprano gave a recital in Rio de Janeiro, participated in Dmitry Korchak’s Festival in Novosibirsk, Russia, and sang solo concerts with the Württembergische Philharmonie Reutlingen, the Ensemble Conductus and Windkraft at SONORA 701 Festival. She also made her debut with the Staatstheater Wiesbaden, singing Mimì (La Bohème). In July 2016, she shared the stage with tenor Rolando Villazón under the baton of Duncan Ward, giving an open-air concert at Schloss Salem.

Recent engagements include Ms. Matshikiza’s debut as Eve in the world premiere of Giorgio Battistelli’s CO2 at Teatro alla Scala in Milan. The highly acclaimed production was staged by one of the most renowned contemporary opera directors – Robert Carsen, and the libretto written by famous British dramatist Ian Burton. She also sang the world premiere of Luca Francesconi’s Bread, Water and Salt, based on the famous speech of Nelson Mandela, together with the Orchestra dell’Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome; and performed the role of Dido in Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas with the English Concert Orchestra as part of the Bristol Proms series. She appeared at the BBC Proms in the Park, and in a concert tour with Rolando Villazón that took her to Vienna’s Konzerthaus, Paris’ Théâtre des Champs-Elysées, the Laeiszhalle in Hamburg, Munich’s Gasteig, the Kuppelsaal in Hannover, and the Tonhalle in Düsseldorf and Helsinki. As a five-year ensemble member of the Staatsoper Stuttgart, Pumeza Matshikiza appeared as Micaёla (Carmen), Mimì (La Bohème), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Ännchen (Der Freischütz), Zerlina (Don Giovanni), and Pamina (Die Zauberflöte).

Pumeza Matshikiza studied at the University of Cape Town and the Royal College of Music. Roles at the RCM included Marenka (The Bartered Bride), Fiordiligi (Così fan tutte), Rosalinde (Die Fledermaus), Concepcion (L’heure espagnole), Poppea (L’incoronazione di Poppea), and Contessa (Le nozze di Figaro). The soprano also participated in masterclasses with renowned artists such as Dame Kiri Te Kanawa, Sir Thomas Allen, Renata Scotto, Joan Rogers, Paul Farrington, Philip Langridge, and Ileana Cotrubas. She has worked with accompanists Paul Montag, Malcolm Martineau, Julius Drake, and Simon Lepper.

Pumeza Matshikiza was a member of the Jette Parker Young Artists’ Programme at the Royal Opera House from 2007-2009 and was heard as Blumenmädchen in Wagner’s Parsifal, Slave in Strauss’ Salome, Innocent (The Minotaur), Witch in Dido and Aeneas, Sandmann (Hänsel und Gretel) and Tebaldo in Verdi’s Don Carlo, conducted by Antonio Pappano. In 2010, Pumeza Matshikiza was awarded 1st Prize in the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition, and became an Associate Artist of the Classical Opera Company, singing the title role in Mozart’s Zaide for which she was awarded with the Patrick Fyffe-Dame Hilda Brackett Prize.



Kirstenbosch Summer Sunset Concerts






Pumeza Matshikiza


Pumeza's second Decca release showcases her operatic roles from Purcell to Puccini and newly arranged songs by Faure, Hahn & Tosti.



This is Pumeza's first Decca album release, highlighting arias by Puccini and Mozart as well as traditional South African songs.



Social Media


Gartland and Matshikiza’s voices complemented one another perfectly and sparkled above their male counterparts ... In the quartet “Addido, dolce svegliare,” Matshikiza and Borras’s voices brought out the best in one another.

Matshikiza’s restrained approach to the role throughout the opera brought a notably sympathetic tone to the final scene, especially in contrast to Gartland’s strength.

Opera News

This really is a dream cast. As Mimi, South African soprano, Pumeza Matshikiza, has a glorious voice and natural acting chops that make her believable throughout.

Theater Jones

South African soprano Pumeza Matshikiza made her American debut Friday night as Mimi, with a distinctively textured voice and tremendous vocal power

Texas Classical Review

Té una veu perfecta per a Verdi tant pel color com per la intensitat i l’expressivitat dramàtica. Però també va lluir les mateixes qualitats en les àries de Puccini “Vissi d’arte” de Tosca, “Donde lieta uscì” de La bohème i “Un bel dì vedremo” de Madama Butterfly, Aquesta última, que significava el final del programa de concert, va aixecar al públic de les seves cadires, amb tota justícia. Formidable, lírica, emotiva amb una afinació perfecta i una dicció clara, la Butterfly es va convertir en africana per uns moments.


...aquesta vegada l’estrella era la soprano sud-africana Pumeza Matshikiza, que va complir les expectatives amb àgil naturalitat: una veu que captiva, sedueix i bressola.

I think I've found the new Maria Callas . . . What initially arrested me, and went on fascinating me, was not only the beauty of her singing, one of the loveliest lightish lyric sopranos I have heard in the flesh, but also her commitment to the role she was performing.

The Spectator

With her luscious lyric voice and her superb presence and acting she will certainly be a star.

BBC Music Magazine

Her voice is smooth, rich, flexible, her manner open and unaffected, her dramatic instinct keen.

Financial Times

With her remarkable combination of qualities she should be appearing in major roles in all the world's great opera houses.

BBC Music Magazine

Matshikiza sang gorgeously . . . the distinctive beauty of a special voice.

The Sunday Times

Dusky, overtone-rich, abundantly sensuous, the timbre has fullness, freshness and purity alloyed to the darker tones of an almost-Callas like palette.

Opera Magazine

Pumeza's Mimi is lovingly sung, her line to Rodolfo about keeping her pink bonnet as a souvenir of their love a touching moment in her interpretation. Liù's aria is well sustained, with nice portamento . . . There's no mistaking the great care with which these performances have been prepared, and the technique is all there. ('Voice of Hope' review)


La voix est chaude, vibrante, sonore, le jeu dramatique toujours juste. Elle sait se faire angoissée « Petit papa, Ondin, sauve-moi », comme désespérée « Je ne suis ni morte, ni vivante », douloureuse « J’ai perdu ma jeunesse » , et chargée d’une émotion sincère dans son ultime duo avec la Prince.

Forum Opéra