Musa Ngqungwana


As the leader of the guard, Zuniga (South-African transplant bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana) cannot be denied as his big, booming voice almost shakes the rafters as he calls out orders to his men and others who crowd the stage.

- The Philadelphia Tribune (Carmen, Opera Philadelphia, May 2018) -


South African bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana has been praised by the New York Times for his “rich, glowing voice and elegant legato.” Mr. Ngqungwana starts this season with performances of Bernstein’s Songfest with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, as well as with a concert performance of Porgy and Bess at Malmö Opera. He returns to Washington Concert Opera as Pythéas in Sapho and to The Dallas Opera for his role debut as Lescaut in Manon Lescaut conducted by Emmanuel Villaume. He finishes the season at Grange Park Opera performing Porgy in Porgy and Bess.

Last season, Mr. Ngqungwana made his house and role debut with English National Opera singing Amonasro in a new production of Aida. He returned to Opera Philadelphia as Zuniga in Carmen, and reprised the role of Queequeg in Moby Dick with Pittsburgh Opera and Utah Opera. He also performed with the Cape Town Philharmonic Orchestra.

In summer 2017, he returned to the Glimmerglass Festival to sing his first performances of Porgy in Porgy and Bess. Last season he performed the role of Leporello in Don Giovanni with Florentine Opera of Milwaukee, joined the Dallas Opera as Queequeg in Moby Dick and as Zaretsky in Eugene Onegin, and sang the role of Angelotti in Tosca with the Canadian Opera Company. He debuted with the Philadelphia Orchestra in a special Valentine’s Day concert singing excerpts from Porgy and Bess.

Highlights of recent seasons include a number of company debuts, notably with Los Angeles Opera in the role of Queequeg in Moby Dick, followed by his first performances at The Glimmerglass Festival singing Gottardo in La gazza ladra, and with Palm Beach Opera as Zuniga in Carmen. He returned to Washington National Opera to sing the role of Stephen Kumalo in Kurt Weill’s Lost in the Stars and performed as bass soloist in Handel’s Messiah at the U.S. Naval Academy.

Mr. Ngqungwana made his European debut in the 2014-15 season singing Zuniga in a new production of Carmen for the Norwegian National Opera. He sang Dulcamara in L’elisir d’amore with Florentine Opera, and he made his debut at Washington National Opera singing Colline in a new production of La bohème. He returned to South Africa to perform concerts for the National Arts Festival in Grahamstown.

Musa Ngqungwana graduated with Honors in Performance and magna cum laude from the University of Cape Town. He received further professional training at the Academy of Vocal Arts in Philadelphia where he performed a wide variety of repertoire including the title role in Verdi’s Oberto, the Villains in Les contes d’Hoffmann, Gremin in Eugene Onegin, Sancho Panza in Massenet’s Don Quichotte, Le Comte Des Grieux in Manon, and Samuel in Un ballo in maschera. He spent two summers at the Crested Butte Music Festival where he sang Lorenzo in I Capuleti e i Montecchi, and Zuniga in Carmen. While studying at the University of Cape Town he sang he sang Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro, Leporello in Don Giovanni and Don Profondo in Il viaggio a Reims.

Musa Ngqungwana is a 2013 Grand Finals Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions. He is also the winner of the Die Zeit Prize at the 29th International Hans Gabor Belvedere Competition in Vienna, the 2014 Cesare Santeremo/Dr Campbell Award from Opera Index, and the 2013 Lissner Charitable Fund Prize from the Licia Albanese Puccini International Vocal Competition. He has written a memoir of his young life entitled Odyssey of an African Opera Singer: From Zwide Township to the World Stage, which was published by penguin books.

Artist Website


European Management:
Thomas Channell
M: +49 (0)171 212 6728

As imposing physically as he was vocally, bass-baritone Musa Ngqungwana captured the enigma that is Queequeg.

Seen and Heard International (Moby Dick, Pittsburgh Opera, March 2018)

The third act duet between Latonia Moore (Aida) and Musa Ngqungwana (Amonasro) was the highlight of the entire show, the brilliance of their performance adeptly illuminating…

Seen and Heard International (Aida, English National Opera, September 2017)


Photo Credit: Loyiso mali

Photo Credit: Musa Ngqungwana

Photo Credit: Loyiso Mali


Don Quichotte – Riez, allez, riez du pauvre ideologue