Njabulo Madlala was born in Durban, South Africa. In 2002 he won a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama for graduate and postgraduate studies. He went on to study for a further year at the Cardiff International Academy of Voice with Dennis O’Neill. Additionally, Njabulo has been a Britten-Pears Young Artist, a Samling Artist and a young artist at the Ravinia International Festival in the USA.
Among his accolades Njabulo is the winner of the 2010 Kathleen Ferrier Award, 2012 Singers Section Final of the Royal Overseas League Competition, the 2012 Lorna Viol Memorial Prize, the Royal Overseas League Trophy for the most outstanding musician from overseas and Standard Bank Young Artist Award for 2014.
In the current season Njabulo performs Aswini Twin 2 Sukanya, with the London Philharmonic Orchestra at the Royal Festival Hall and returns to English National Opera as Prince Yamadori in Anthony Minghella’s production of Madam Butterfly.
Highlights in recent seasons include Jim Porgy and Bess for English National Opera and the Dutch National Opera; Aeneas Dido for English National Opera / Unicorn Theatre; Various roles in Shostakovich’s The Nose for The Royal Opera; Aswini Twin 2 Sukanya for The Royal Opera / London Philharmonic Orchestra; and Beethoven Symphony No. 9 with the Minnesota Orchestra.
Operatic roles include Schaunard La bohème and Bartolomeo Il furioso all’isola di San Domingo (English Touring Opera); Orlando Gough’s Voices and Votes (Bergen National Opera); the title role in Mozart's Don Giovanni (Mid Wales Opera); Don Fernando Fidelio, Bello La fanciulla del West and Schaunard La bohème (Opera Holland Park); Whale and Elephant How the Whale Became and Master of the Thames Boat Heart of Darkness (Royal Opera House, Linbury Theatre); Kammersinger Intermezzo (Buxton International Festival); Peachum The Threepenny Opera (Hawaii Performing Arts Festival); Scarpia Tosca (Grange Park Opera’s ‘Rising Stars’); Rangwan in Delius's Koanga (Sadler’s Wells Theatre); Don Giulio in Rossini's L’ajo nell’imbarazzo (Barga International Festival) and Mel in Tippett's The Knot Garden (Montepulciano Festival); Escamillo (Winslow Hall Opera); Moralès (Dorset Opera Festival); and Porgy Porgy and Bess at the Cheltenham Festival.
In recital Njabulo has performed with Roger Vignoles (Cambridge Festival and Lugo Festival in Spain), Julius Drake (Mananan Festival), Williams Vann (Oxford Lieder Festival and Ripon International Festival), Simon Lepper (Wigmore Hall Monday Concert Series and Buxton Festival), Llŷr Williams (Gower Festival) and with James Baillieu (Lake District Music Festival). His debut CD Songs of Home was released in autumn 2013 on the Champs Hill Records label.
Concert highlights include Mozart Requiem (English Chamber Orchestra, London Mozart Players and Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); Mahler Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen (London Philharmonic Orchestra / Vladimir Jurowski); Beethoven Symphony No. 9 (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); Belshazzar’s Feast at the Three Choirs Festival (Philharmonia Orchestra) and Royal Festival Hall (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra); Messiah (Philharmonia Orchestra); Elijah at the Snape Maltings; J. S. Bach Ich habe genug (Ten Tors Orchestra); Dido and Aeneas at (Wimbledon International Music Festival); and concerts with the KwaZulu Natal Philharmonic Orchestra under Arjan Tien and Richard Cook.
Jim / Porgy and Bess / English National Opera / 2018
“It’s worth pointing out that South African singers took no fewer than five character parts, and they all excelled – whether Nozuko Teto’s strawberry seller or Njabulo Madlala’s Jim.”
(The Arts Desk)
Mendelssohn Elijah / The City of London Choir & Royal Philharmonic Orchestra / 2018
“Of the soloists, the star was undoubtedly the South African baritone Njabulo Madlala, singing Elijah, whose voice has a wonderful consistency through its register – even for the floated top notes. It is authoritative yet warm, and it imparted a special tingle to Elijah’s more introspective arias”
Aswini Twin / Sukanya / Royal Opera House & London Philharmonic Orchestra / 2017
“There's fine work, too, from Njabulo Madlala and Michel de Souza as the Twins…”