Musa Ngqungwana


Bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana, a native of Port Elizabeth, South Africa, has been praised by The New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato,” and by The Wall Street Journal as “a powerful bass-baritone.”

This season, Musa appears as Lord Krishna in Satyagraha at the English National Opera, as Pizarro in Fidelio and in Sanctuary Road at North Carolina Opera, and as the role of Rocco in Fidelio: A Celebratory Gala Production at Austin Opera. He will also appear as Vodnik in Rusalka at Garsington Opera.

Highlights of recent engagements include singing the title role of Porgy and Bess at The Glimmerglass Festival, Washington National Opera, Atlanta Opera, Grange Park Opera, and Lithuanian State Symphony Orchestra; appearing as Leporello in Don Giovanni with Pittsburgh Opera; the King in Aida with Houston Grand Opera; the Wanderer in Wagner’s Siegfried with North Carolina Opera; Paolo Albiani in Washington Concert Opera’s production of Verdi’s Simon Boccanegra; Queequeg in Moby Dick at Los Angeles Opera, Dallas Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, and Utah Opera; Lescaut in Manon Lescaut at Dallas Opera; Zuniga in Carmen at Philadelphia Opera, Norwegian National Opera, and Palm Beach Opera; and King Balthazar in Amahl and the Night Visitors with On Site Opera.

Musa’s recent debuts have included Amonasro in Aida at English National Opera, Angelotti in Tosca at the Canadian Opera Company, Gottardo in La gazza ladra at The Glimmerglass Festival, and at Washington National Opera as Colline in La bohème, where he also sang the role of Stephen Kumalo in Lost in the Stars.

His concert work has included featured performances with The Philadelphia Orchestra; with the Scottish Symphony Orchestra in Bernstein’s Songfest on its Opening Night concert; and as Pythéas in Sapho with the Washington Concert Opera, Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, U.S. Naval Academy, and at the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown, South Africa.

Musa’s vocal promise continues to be recognized nationally and internationally. In 2014, he was nominated for the Marian Anderson Award at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. He was also the 2014 winner of the Cesare Santeremo / Dr. Campbell Award from Opera Index in New York City, and a third prize winner of the Giulio Gari and Gerda Lissner International Vocal Competitions.

In 2013, Musa was the Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a recipient of the Lissner Charitable Award from the Licia Albanese / Puccini International Vocal Competition, and the recipient of the Apollo Music Trust. Further recognitions include the 2011 Oppenheimer Memorial Trust award and the 2010 winner of the WBHO / Jan Kaminski Award. Musa is also the 2015 recipient of the Standard Bank Young Artist through the National Arts Festival of South Africa.

Musa graduated with Honors in Performance (First Class) from the University of Cape Town and is also a graduate of the prestigious Academy of Vocal Arts (AVA) in Philadelphia. He is the author of Odyssey of an African Opera Singer, which was published in South Africa by Penguin Random House.