2015 is a year that has seen 24 year old, Kroonstad born singer Levy Strauss Sekgapane win three internationally recognised singing competitions in the space of a few weeks.
In July, Sekgapane was one of four South African opera singers (alongside Noluvuyiso Mpofu, Lukhanyo Moyake and Caroline Modiba) who reached the final stage of the 34th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition held in Amsterdam, Netherlands. This competition resonates with South Africans as South African opera sensation Pretty Yende won this competition in 2009 and the 35th edition of this competition will be held in Cape Town in 2016.
On 29 August 2015, SAMRO announced Levy Sekgapane as winner of a R200 000 music scholarship to further his music studies, or enrol in specialist master classes, abroad. The SAMRO Overseas Scholarships competition is an annual competition focusing on different music disciplines each year, 2015 saw singers competing in two categories: Western Art Music and Jazz.
Saturday 12 September 2015 brought with it the news that Levy Sekgapane has another competition win under his belt, this time the international Montserrat Caballé Singing Competition in Spain. This competition saw Sekgapane competing as one of 13 finalists: Leonor Bonilla – soprano (Spain), Diana Haller – mezzo (Croatia), Levy Sekgapane – tenor (South Africa), Qi Yang – soprano (China), Mario Chang – tenor (Guatemala), Marc Sala – tenor (Spain), Lai Ling Kwong – soprano (China), Xiqiu Zhang – tenor (China), Yuriy Yurchuk – barítono (Ukraine), Anamarija Knego – soprano (Croatia), Kyoung A Yim – soprano (Korea), Aikaterina Koufochristou – soprano (Greece) and Justo Pastor Rodríguez – tenor (Paraguay).
Levy Sekgapane chose for the finals the same aria that won him the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition, Rossini’s “Languir per una bella” from “L’ Italiana in Algeri”. His performance on Saturday evening brought opera superstar Montserrat Caballé to tears and won Sekgapane a €12’000 first prize.