Wilhelm Theunissen is a South African born tenor and singing teacher who currently lives in Worcester, England. He studied under the renowned South African baritone, Werner Nel and later became lecturer of singing at the Free State Musicon in Bloemfontein and Head of the Youth Opera Studio at the Sand du Plessis Theatre in South Africa where he developed a programme to take classical singing into the townships. This eventually resulted in launching the careers of several opera singers, some of whom who were selected for the Jette Parker Opera Programme at the Royal Opera House and appeared as soloists for the Royal Opera House, Opera Frankfurt, the Lucerne Theatre, Opera Africa and Cape Town Opera. Wilhelm also travelled to Europe and received private lessons in Italy and Germany. Wilhelm was awarded a SAMRO bursary in 1989 and appointed winner of the ATKV-Forte Category Prize for singers in 1991.
He made his professional debut at the Durban Playhouse in Mozart’s Requiem in 1990, followed by his operatic debut as Belmonte in Mozart’s ‘Die Entführung aus dem Serail’ for the Roodepoort City Opera the following year. Further engagements followed with appearances in the ‘Le Nozze di Figaro’, ‘Tosca’, ‘Die Fledermaus’, ‘Der Zigeunerbaron’, ‘The Student Prince’ and ‘Il Barbiere di Siviglia’.
He received favourable reviews for his performances as the Evangelist in Bach’s ‘St John Passion’ for the State Theatre of South Africa and a recording of the world premiere of Martin Watt’s ‘Requiem’ with the SABC Symphony Orchestra. He performed for various choral societies in that country including the Johannesburg Bach Choir, Leipzig Vokale Ensemble, the Cape Town Philharmonia Choir and enjoyed a particular association with Dr Barry Smith, former Director of Music at St George’s Cathedral, Cape Town, who invited him to sing in many memorable concerts, including Benjamin Britten’s ‘St Nicholas’, Gounod’s ‘St Cecilia Mass’ and Bach’s ‘St. Matthew Passion’.