DMA (UNT) | MMus (SMU) |Artist Diploma (SMU) | BMus (US)
Dr Conroy Cupido 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, 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 made his debut in Europe in a production of Gianni Schicchi by Puccini with the Amalfi Coast Music Festival and Institute.
Dr Cupido has adjudicated many competitions and Eisteddfods in the USA. He has adjudicated twice for the SAMRO International singing competition, the UNISA National Singing Competition, the Voices of South Africa Opera Competition, as well as the Mimi Coertse Singing Competition. 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.
Cupido has been published in the scholarly journals Musicus, Muziki: Journal of Music Research in Africa, The Journal of Musical Arts in Africa and The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa. Also, he has presented papers at national and international conferences. In 2013 he was nominated as an ambassador of South Africa for an Intercultural Exchange Programme through the Cleveland Foundation (Creative Fusion USA). In 2016 he toured South Africa with an all Schubert programme with British pianist, Yoon Chung, and presented concerts with Chung in the United Kingdom as well in 2017.
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.
His past students have won major competitions such as the ATKV Musiqanto Competition, Phillip Moore Competition, and UNISA National Singing competition, and they have also been finalists and semi-finalists in the Belvedere International Singing Competition, Hertogenbosch Singing Competition in Amsterdam, the SAMRO Singing Competition and the Emmerich Smola Förderpreis Competition in Germany. Three of his students, Palesa Malieloa, Siyabonga Maqungo and Nombuso Ndlandla, have furthered their studies in Cologne, Germany and Siyabonga is now a resident tenor at the Meiningen Opera Theatre in Germany as well.
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. In 2013 he was awarded the Prestigious Award for Teaching Excellence from North-West University.