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Achievements dot the CV of Johannes Slabbert like notes on a score. The 27-year old baritone – who has been invited to the Johan Strauss New Year’s concert in Finland for three consecutive years – left his former school as a shy Grade 1 learner because he ‘could quite manage English.’ Today, he attributes his successful career in opera to his music teachers at Curro Durbanville.

When Johannes was 17-years old, someone posted a video of him on YouTube singing Josh Groban’s hit ‘You raise me up’. Since then, he has completed his Bachelor of Music (B Mus) at the University of Cape Town’s revered Opera School, obtained his Masters degree in musicology and has embarked on his PhD specializing in vocal pedagogy.

His long list of achievements don’t stop there, though. He has appeared in various Opera roles on stages across the globe, including a stint as Don Giovanni in Mozart’s well-known opera. ‘If it weren’t for “Juffrou Myrtle” (Visser) and “Juffrou Jeanne” (Maritz) teaching a tongue-tied kid how to sing on stage, I would never have been where I am today or doing what I do today,’ he remembers.

Some of his favourite school memories include wearing civvies (‘We felt like learners in an American movie’), playing rugby on the so-called sports field and “Juffrou Hilda” (Bosch) helping him to form his first letters so that he could write his own name for the first time.