Opera is not everyone’s cup of tea but there’s something about Bianca Solomons’ voice that will make you rethink your position on this often misjudged music genre.
The 16-year-old soprano from the Western Cape is fast gaining a following after winning Talent Africa, where she wowed a panel of judges with her rendition of O Mio Babbino Caro (Oh My Dear Daddy), an aria composed by Giacomo Puccini in 1918 for the opera Gianni Schicchi.
More determined than ever after her big win, Solomons wants to take her voice on the international stage and has her sights set on Talent America, which starts in June. Raising funds to make the journey to the US is proving harder than expected but, if her life story is anything to go by, she has never been one to give up on her dreams.
A mere five hours after her birth, Solomons’ mother handed her to a friend Ellen, whom she told she had urgent errands to run. Her mother never returned. “She gave the baby to me to hold and said she needed to run an errand and said she was coming back, but she never did,” says Bianca’s adoptive mother, Ellen Fouché.
Fouché, who lives with Bianca in a tiny wooden structure behind a family friend’s house, says her daughter may have been raised under challenging circumstances but she chooses to focus on the teen’s future rather than dwell on the past.
“Raising Bianca has not been without challenges since, culturally, we are different and our racial differences have been highlighted by others. But I am proud to be called mom by Bianca,” says Fouché.
When Solomons speaks of her mother, one can hear the love goes both ways. The teen says she wants to use her musical talent to get her mom a better place to live in. “I always sing. I live, sleep and breath music.
“I think, sometimes, I irritate those around me with my constant singing but I love it,” says Bianca, who was encouraged to pursue opera by her school choir teacher.
However, she says she is not averse to other musical styles. “I can certainly sing hip-hop and R&B, and would not mind if given an opportunity. But my love is currently with opera. I can escape everyday problems we face in society and disappear in a song.”
Her manager Samantha Oliphant, who is the founder and managing director of SJ Artists, says she first heard Bianca sing when she was just a little girl and knew she had to nurture her voice.
“When I first saw her I thought she was just a shy little girl, until she opened her mouth and began to sing for me. I was shocked.”
Oliphant says raising funds to get Bianca to the bigger competitions and international stage has been difficult but they are pushing forward with plans to expand Bianca’s brand. “South Africans need to see this talent. We posted a video on Facebook recently.”
For more information about Bianca Solomons or to contribute to her fundraising effort, you can call Samantha Oliphant on 076-064-6220.