Eastern Cape-born Msimelelo Mbali is a self-taught South African singer, whose love for opera started while still in high school. He made his stage debut in 2006 singing in the Tirisano Schools Choral Eisteddfod, in which he won the bass/baritone category.
In 2008, Msimelelo made his professional debut as a soloist on South Africa’s biggest choral music stage, the Old Mutual National Choir Festival, singing the bass-baritone solo in Mozart’s Requiem Mass. He transitioned from baritone to bass in 2013, aided by his teacher and mentor Kholisile Ngqondi, and in 2015 was invited to compete in the Voices of Africa National Opera Singing Competition, where he won the Chairman of the Jury Award. In 2017, he qualified for the Hans Gabor Belvedere Singing Competition finals, held in Moscow, where, as was one of only five African singers, he was the first African bass to qualify. He also qualified for another of South Africa’s renowned singing competitions, the Muziqanto National Classical Vocal Competition, in which he gained fourth place.
He recently performed as a member of the chorus in Porgy and Bess and Britten’s War Requiem for both English National Opera and Dutch National Opera.