FACULTY OF ARTS
School of Music & Conservatory
Dr Conroy Cupido
DMA (UNT) | MMus (SMU) |Artist Diploma (SMU) | BMus (US)
Dr Conroy Cupido, baritone, hails from Cape Town, South Africa. His degrees include the Doctorate in Musical Arts (DMA) from the University of North Texas, the Master in Music (MMus) and Artist Certificate from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and the Bachelor in Music (BMus) from the University of Stellenbosch.
Dr Cupido’s first professional engagement was in a production of Who killed Jimmy Valentine? by Alan Stephenson, performed at the Baxter Theatre in Cape Town at the tender age of 15. He started piano lessons at the age of 7 and his musical interests were cultivated by a musical family, a very rich cultural environment and by singing in the choirs and playing in the orchestral ensembles of the New Apostolic Church from a very young age. During his studies at the University of Stellenbosch he was selected as a soloist in the Cape Town Symphony Youth Music Festival, performing selected orchestral songs from Berlioz’s Les Nuits d’été song cycle with the CTSO. In 1999 he was selected to perform with internationally renowned South African soprano, Mimi Coertse, in her concert Debuut met Mimi at the State Theatre in Pretoria.
While a member of Cape Town Opera’s Vocal Ensemble, Dr Cupido was recruited by American soprano and Professor of Voice, Barbara Hill-Moore, to further his studies at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. During his studies abroad he was awarded the Sue Johnson Prize for Best Male Opera Singer and he was a finalist in the National Opera Association Voice Competition and the Shreveport Opera Singer of the Year Competition. He was awarded many merit-based scholarships for international study including the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust Bursary, The National Arts Council of South Africa Award, the Schollmeier Foundation Bursary, the Dean’s Camerata Opera Scholarship from the University of North Texas, and The Bruce Foote Foundation Bursary.
Dr Cupido has performed with many local and international orchestras and opera companies including Cape Town Opera, Utah Festival Opera where he was a resident artist for three seasons, the Dallas Opera, the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra, the Klein Karoo Nasionale Kunstefees, Salon Music (Brooklyn Theatre), the Cape Town Symphony Orchestra and Choir, the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, the Denton Bach Society, and the Con Spirito Orchestra and Choir. He has performed as soloist in Mozart’s Requiem, Handel’s Messiah and Te Deum, Mendelssohn’s Elijah, Stainer’s Crucifixion, and many recitals. The operas in which he has performed include Rossini’s Il barbiere di Siviglia, Rorem’s Our Town, Donizetti’s L’Elisir d’Amore, Gounod’s Romeo et Juliet, Verdi’s La Traviata, Il Trovatore, Nabucco and Aida, Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Britten’s Turn of the Screw, Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi and Madama Butterfly, Floyd’s Susannah, Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess, and Mozart’s Così fan Tutte, Le Nozze di Figaro and Idomeneo. In 2010 he performed in the world première of Jake Heggie’s opera, Moby Dick, at the Dallas Opera with tenor Ben Heppner as Captain Ahab. In 2011 he performed in concerts and a production of Gianni Schicchi with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and the Orchestra dell’ Opera Magiara di Cluji. In 2015 he initiated a multimedia art and music collaboration project which was presented in concerts and exhibitions in Potchefstroom and Pretoria. Further presentations are planned in the USA. Most recently he has performed in art song recitals and productions in Pretoria, Potchefstroom and Dallas, Texas (2014). He was the musical director for the very successful production Viva Italia, Opera Gala, which was presented at the Aardklop Arts Festival in 2012 with Richard Cock conducting the Johannesburg Festival Orchestra. Besides creative outputs, his interest in research concerns diction for classical singers, vocal pedagogy and vocal performance practice. He has been published in scholarly journals including Musicus and Muziki and has presented papers at national and international conferences. In 2013 he was nominated as an ambassador of South Africa for an Intercultural Exchange Program through the Cleveland Foundation (Creative Fusion USA).
Dr Cupido has worked with the following stage directors: Paula Homer, James Marvel, Daniel Helfgot, Valerie Rachelle Herkert, Jack Shouse, Marciem Bazell, Stephanie Sundine, Jacobo Kauffman, Dorothy Danner, Christine Crouse, and Angelo Gobbato, and the following conductors: Miguel Harth-Bedoya, Barbara Day Turner, Karen Keltner, Stephen Dubberly, Paul Phillips, Reinhardt Schwarz, Christopher Dowdswell and Henry Gibbons. His teachers and coaches include David Sundquist, Barbara Hill Moore, Petrus van Heerden, Stephen Dubberly, Hank Hammett, Martha Gerhart, Lisa Hasson, Brenda Rein, and tenor Richard Croft who continuously performs at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
While completing his doctoral studies, Dr Cupido taught as a Teaching Fellow at the University of North Texas and maintained a private voice studio before returning to South Africa. He is currently a Senior Lecturer at North-West University and teaches Applied Voice, Vocal Pedagogy, Vocal and Opera literature, and Italian and French diction. He has directed the Conservatory Choir and the Opera Workshop. His students have fared well in local and international voice competitions. They have won the Sedibeng and Phillip Moore Music Competitions and have been finalists and semi-finalists in the ATKV Musiqanto competition, the SAMRO Overseas Voice Competition, the Emmerich Smola Förderpreiss and Hertogenbosch Vocal Competitions in Germany and Amsterdam, respectively. His students have also been chosen as part of opera studios in Cape Town and Germany. In 2013 he was awarded the Prestigious Award for Teaching Excellence from North-West University.