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The Polynesian Operatic Voice

The Polynesian Operatic Voice

The Operatunity Daytime Concerts present Three Tenors and a Soprano in the latest national tour for March and April. The concert features the New Zealand Three Tenors singing popular arias and songs made famous by the likes of Mario Lanza, Pavarotti and Richard Tauber.

The five artists involved in this concert tour are Soprano Susan Boland, tenors Bonaventure Allan- Moetaua, Derek Hill and Kalauni Pouvalu and concert pianist Ludwig Treviranus.

Of the five performers, three are of Polynesian descent: concert pianist, Dr. Ludwig Treviranus, part Samoan, who recently returned from completing his Doctorate in the States and tenors - Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua of Cook Island descent and Kalauni Pouvalu of Tongan descent.

It is a well known fact that Maori and Pacific Islanders can sing and are intrinsically musical. This has become more evident in recent times with the emergence of greatly talented Polynesian opera singers. Our own Dame Kiri and Inia Te Wiata have always been great examples of this but in more recent times, Jonathan Lemalu, Ben Makisi and Aivale Cole come to mind.

The tenor has always been considered the rarest and most romantic of voices, conjuring up music of sultry passion and wonderful melodies. Now New Zealand can boast several up and coming Pacific Island tenors, all of whom will make their way on to the international stage over the next few years. Bonaventure and Kalauni are two of these such singers.

Why are Polynesians so well represented as operatic tenors? It is hard to know. Definitely one has to be able to sing, but more than that, these men come from a heritage of music, harmony and communal singing, be it in their wider community or in churches. We should also pay tribute to the many secondary school teachers who are more aware of the great talent hiding in their midst.

Perhaps more important than anything is the Polynesian way of performing with warmth, generosity, openness and with a great sense of humour which immediately engages their audiences. This is without pretension and allows the audience to become open to the music and therefore fully enjoy the wonder of their glorious voices.


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