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Defying the odds

Thandolwethu Mamba is a baritone with a “magnificent voice” and “artistry [that] is comparable to the best world-class singers many times his age” (CVNC). Born and raised in the small township of Msunduza, Mbabane in the Kingdom of Eswatini, he came to the United States after having studied in Armenia for two years where he saw his first live opera.

He received his Bachelor of Arts in Music from Duke University in 2020 where he studied with Susan Dunn (​​ and his Masters in Vocal Performance at the Frost School of Music in 2022 where he studied with Kim Josephson (

Thando, as he is more commonly known, recently won the Heafner-Williams Voice Competition (2022) and was the winner of the Benton-Schmidt Competition and the Raleigh Symphony Orchestra Rising Stars Competition in 2020.

The latter resulted in his first solo concert performance with orchestra in which he rendered a “deeply moving performance” of ​​Mahler's Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (Songs of a Wayfarer).
His recent opera credits include his creation of the role of Don Calogero Sedàra in The Leopard by composer Michael Dellaira (2022), Signor Deluso in Town Magistrate with Florida Grand Opera (2021), and the title role in Gianni Schicchi with Si parla, si canta! in Verona and Miasino, Italy (2019).

Thando is currently in St Louis, Missouri with the Opera Theatre of Saint Louis for their Festival Season 2022. As a Gerdine Young Artist, he will be performing in multiple productions of Carmen, The Magic Flute, and Harvey Milk and feature as a soloist in two center-stage concerts.

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