The BCI Opera in Rarotonga duo were thrown in the deep end almost straight away with a day of interviews for radio, print and TV on Tuesday and spent yesterday on Aitutaki at Araura College, where they conducted an opera workshop for the entire school.
Today and Friday there will be more workshops at Tereora College, Apii Te Uki Ou, and Titikaveka College.
Not that that’s a chore for these two, who also teach music to high school students back home in Auckland, New Zealand.
“We’re looking forward to it,” said Vuni of the school workshops. “Hopefully we can instil some good stuff into them.”
In addition to their music studies and singing commitments, both Vuni and Laga’aia are passionate about their youth work.
“It takes a bit of prioritising but we enjoy it as well, as much as it takes up a lot of our time,” said Laga’aia.
“I guess you could say that we try our best to try and touch one person’s heart, so that person can go along and touch another heart.”
The same could be said for how these two approach opera.
“It’s sort of about bringing two worlds together,” said Vuni. “Because opera in the Pacific Islands is still new, and people are still trying to get used to it. But at the same time it’s sort of something that we’ve been doing at church, so it’s almost similar already.
It’s just trying to put our foot in that world I guess.
“What we’re trying to do is to try to entertain and make it more accessible.”
Something else about BCI Opera in Rarotonga which probably also helps make it a bit more accessible is the fact that each night’s entertainment comes complete with a complimentary glass of bubbles and a selection of delicious canapes, as well as the offer of a three-course menu combining local fare with the Pacific fusion cuisine Cook Islands is beginning to become well known for.
The concert itself incorporates not only opera classics but also contemporary songs with an operatic twist.
Combine that with some fine wine and food and you’ve got an evening a wide range of people can enjoy.