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Reigniting the love of opera

Saturday 19 August 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features


Reigniting the love of opera
Cook Islands very own rising star tenor Ridge Ponini. SUPPLIED/23081818

The Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI) Opera in Rarotonga is set to return for the first time since the Covid-19 pandemic next month.

Motone Productions will relaunch the much-loved BCI Opera in Rarotonga event, reigniting the Cook Islands’ love of opera.

The event, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2019, the last year it was held before the Covid-19 pandemic, is ready to deliver a thunderous performance on October 13-14 at Tamarind House.

With the support of partner sponsors Air Rarotonga, Motu Villas and Islands Car and Bike Hire and Creative New Zealand, the 2023 line-up features world class opera tenor Benjamin Fifitia Makisi known as the “voice of the South Pacific”.

Makisi was the very first tenor in opera in Rarotonga in 2010. His workshop at Tereora College influenced accompanying performer, the Cook Islands very own rising star tenor Ridge Ponini, who will also be returning for this year’s recital alongside another great singer and Opera in Rarotonga alumni vocal coach mezzo soprano Elisha Fai-So’oialo. She performed in Rarotonga and Aitutaki in 2013 and 2014.

In the 2014 concert, Ponini was introduced to our opera audience as a young local singer with ambition. Fai-So’oialo worked with Ponini assisting him to his successful auditions at Otago University.

Motone Productions said this trio of stunning Pacific performers will showcase a repertoire of Opera classics, Pacific Imene and Waiata and contemporary songs that everyone can connect too while entertaining with stories of how opera has influenced their lives.

Reigniting the opera is to reimagine and 2023 sees a new home for the concerts at Tamarind House. This historic venue has the charm that will make this event one that connects to the history of the Restaurant but also brings in new cuisine options to the concert goers, says Motone Productions.

“We love to have the backdrop of the recital as Moana Nui a Kiva and

Tamarind House’s view gives us that impact. Combining that with the opportunity to bring a new cuisine option to our audience we are excited what this new venue will offer.’ says Mo Newport of Motone Productions.

During the week “POPERA” events will be happening where the singers may just pop up next to you and sing, as well as Motones youth vocal workshops here in Rarotonga and in Aitutaki thanks to the support of long-time supporter and sponsor Air Rarotonga.

Glenda Tuaine of Motone Productions said: “The BCI Opera in Rarotonga embodies the values of confidence and believing in yourself and the recitals and outreach programme showcase Pacific performance in a genre of music that for many in the past has been a space where Pacific Islanders did not adorn, this concert and programme over the years has motivated change, built careers and performing arts futures. It has enriched pride by performing Opera to our community and international audiences in Rarotonga and Aitutaki and ignited opportunity and dreams.”

BCI Opera in Rarotonga is now an important opera event on the touring calendar for established and emerging Pacific opera singers, don’t miss out!

Tickets on sale from September 1. Online ticket sales available at from September 1. Concert Ticket – $70 A reserve Restaurant and $60 B reserve Garden. Dining options are not included in the ticket price.

For any enquiries, please contact Glenda Tuaine (+682) 55228 or email Visit their Facebook for more information.