In a market flooded with commercialised opera by artists such as The Ten Tenors, Helmut Lotti and many others, listeners have lost touch with opera as an art form. The so-called 'grand scale' opera productions with imported singers are also not helping the fact that we have an array of local opera singers, most of them without work, who would love to bring true opera to audiences across our beautiful country. Without educating the people of South Africa about what true opera is, the art form will soon die along with its ageing audience.

By becoming a contributor for the Citizen does not mean Louw will be putting away his stage make-up. He is also working with a group of friends from the opera industry in an effort to rescue opera from becoming further commercialised. "Who knows, maybe South Africa will once again in the near future have a true, travelling opera company for the love of opera, and not for the love of money," he says.

Louw, who is very passionate about opera, has an impressive repertoire of full opera productions behind his name. He started off his career as a member of the Pretoria State Theatre Ad-hoc Chorus in 1996 and by the time he performed his first supporting role in 1998, has already appeared in more than 15 opera productions, many of them as understudy to a leading role. In 2000 he quit his day-time job to become a full-time opera singer and has since sang the leading roles of a number of operas in South Africa, Namibia, the US and Europe.