Lynelle Kenned joins Heavenly Quartez and CPO. Picture: Günther Schubert
Lynelle Kenned joins Heavenly Quartez and the CPO. Picture: Günther Schubert

You cannot sum up Lynelle Kenned in one word, but several do spring to mind writes PETA STEWART.

This effervescent breath of fresh air, this sparklingly vivacious and gorgeous, flexible, dynamic singer and performer will be joining Heavenly Quartez and the CPO in the 10th anniversary concert of Heavenly Quartez in the Artscape Theatre on 2 December, 2018.

She cannot wait, for singing opera is her background.

Lynelle Kenned loves the diversity that has come into her career, one that takes her into film, TV, and on to the stage in concerts, performance art using the voice, and above all – musicals. She is also mad about Christmas carols and is happy the festive season is coming up!

She’ll also be the Throat in an Ashram concert later this year, after she returns from a fundraising concert for the Quartet for Peace in Johannesburg. And next year she will be appearing in a show she has been asked to create for the KKNK, and that’s just one of the projects she will be involved in next year.

But back to classical!

“Classical singers don’t realize what goes into musical theatre until they have to do it,” she says. “Being trained classically at the SA College of Music taught me vocal and physical stamina, but doing my first musical taught me real stamina. In opera, you have performances for a few days; musicals go on eight times a week, sometimes for months. But in a musical you are so much freer, not constrained by the metre. You also grow more because you can develop the role over those months when you perform it every day. That’s luxury! You have the time to play with the role as it becomes second nature and you can experiment.  I am in the clouds when I do musical theatre with a full symphony orchestra!”

It was singing in West Side Story with the Cape Town Philharmonic that made the industry sit up and take notice. Lynelle Kenned was awarded a Fleur de Cap for her role of Maria. “This was so important for me, a sense of professional validation.”

Top Billing Presenter search

It was in 2012 that she found musicals to be a perfect medium. Having entered the Top Billing Presenter search (she was the eventual runner up and went on to become a presenter on Pasella, another show, Jý geld on KykNet and is now shooting a new lifestyle series to be aired next year on DSTV’s Via channel). She was featured on SABC’s Expresso show.  On the same show were some of the cast of Taliep Pieterson’s and David Kramer’s Kat and the Kings, and she came to attention of David Kramer who cast her in Blood Brothers.

“I started at the bottom again,” she says, “an understudy!”

It didn’t take long though and soon she was on Cape Town Opera’s radar, touring in Showboat, her life having turned full circle. Then came Sound of Music and most recently Calling Us Home.

Lynelle was 17 when she knew she would be a performer.

She grew up in a musical family where everyone sang or played an instrument or both but it was after she joined the SA Youth Choir and was taken to see Cape Town Opera’s Showboat that she knew this is what she would do.  She discussed options with her teacher at Stellenberg High, Elizabeth Wright, who suggested she enroll at UCT’s SA College of Music Opera School. She auditioned, she was accepted and she began to study with Virginia Davids.

Today she is also sought after as an MC and a film and TV actress, and credits musicals for  giving her the mechanisms to develop to her full potential.

“I market myself as a package,” she says, “and I am happy that I am being asked to do more and more filming. “

With so much on the go, how much performance anxiety does she feel? “I always say the day you stop feeling nervous is the day you should quit.”

Let’s hope that’s decades down the line.

For now, she is combining two loves in the concert with Heavenly Quartez, which is produced and directed by Aviva Pelham, and will sing I Feel Pretty and Je Veux Vivre and some pieces with the quartet.

For more music concerts in Cape Town:

Who: Soprano Lynelle Kenned
What: Heavenly Quartez celebrate 10 years! With the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra, conductor Chad Hendricks
 Artscape Theatre
When: 2 December 2018, 4pm
Info, book: 021 421 7295,