European destinations on Van der Walt, Deon (V) South Africa’s most famous opera star, Van der Walt (born July 28, 1958 in Cape Town) studied voice at the University of Stellenbosch making his debut as Jaquino in Fidelio while still a student. In 1981, the lyric tenor was studying abroad on scholarships when he won the International Mo – zart Competition in Salzburg playing Tamino in The Magic Flute. In 1985, the 27-year-old made his Covent Garden debut as Count Almaviva in The Barber of Seville. In addition to these professional accolades, he became the first South African?born singer to complete the operatic grand slam performing at New York’s Metropolitan Opera House, the Vienna State Opera, La Scala in Milan, and London’s Covent Garden. A familiar face on the international festival circuit, Van der Walt performed in Salzburg, Vienna, Barcelona, and Zurich and was regarded as one of Mozart’s most skilled interpreters. After years of almost nonstop touring, the tenor decided to spend more time in South Africa to help train young singers and oversee his winemaking business. In 1988, Van der Walt purchased property near Paarl in a valley near the Klein-Drakenstein mountains 35 miles outside of Cape Town, christened the estate Veenwouden (after the Dutch village of his ancestors), and started producing highly regarded boutique wines known for their excellent taste and limited production. European destinations 2016.