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The magic of music: Dame Kiri Jeanette Claire Te Kanawa attends Opera in Rarotonga

Monday 16 October 2023 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Art, Entertainment, Features


The magic of music: Dame Kiri Jeanette Claire Te Kanawa attends Opera in Rarotonga
Tenor Ridge Ponini performs at Opera in Rarotonga. MELINA ETCHES/23101528

The audience was entertained by operatic Arias, classics and contemporary, “trying to get everyone on the edge of their seats and to have fun.”

Fa’i-So’oialo loves the stories of opera, the emotional connection with the audience through those stories.

“They’re actually really relatable as well a lot of the time, the loss of a loved one can be as general as that, and then all of sudden it connects to the person, so it’s a very personal thing as well and that’s all through story telling.”

Opera in Rarotonga certainly captivated the audience with the exceptional display of rich tones and vocal talent on display staging awe-inspiring performances.

The audience was mesmerised as the three Pacific opera singers, Cook Islands tenor Ridge Ponini, mezza soprano Elisha Fai-So’oialo (Samoa) and tenor Benjamin Fifita Makisi (Samoa/Tonga) showcased their outstanding powerful voices which soared through the air breaking through the tranquil night.

Ponini, Fai-So'oialo, and Makisi delivered a blend of heartfelt stories of the opera, individually captivating the audience with their powerful and emotional renditions.

Their rich harmonious performances blended beautifully.

Operatic Arias, classics and contemporary songs, entertained the audience who soaked up the atmosphere sitting back quietly in awe and appreciation, and applauding with praise.

It was indeed a magical and magnificent evening.

The concert was held over the weekend on both Friday and Saturday night at Tamarind House on the sea side which provided an ideal backdrop for the concert.

Gracing the occasion on Friday was none other than the now retired opera singer from Aotearoa New Zealand, Dame Kiri Jeanette Claire Te Kanawa, who is celebrated worldwide.

Dame Kiri performed Handel's Let the Bright Seraphim at the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer in 1981.

Kings Representative Sir Tom Marsters, Lady Tuaine Marsters and Prime Minister Mark Brown also attended the Friday night opera.

Opera in Rarotonga was presented by Motone Productions who are the husband and wife team of Glenda Tuaine and Maurice Newport.

Their company objective is to create events that take Pasifika and Māori artistic product and showcase within the Pacific region and all over the globe.

The event was sponsored by Bank of the Cook Islands (BCI), Island Car and Bike Hire Ltd, Air Rarotonga, MOTU and Creative New Zealand.