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HOT Italians

Opera, that is.


Hawai‘i Opera Theatre
www.hawaiiopera.org • 596-7858
Rigoletto: February 10, 12, 14; Il Trittico: February 24, 26, 2; Tosca: March 10, 12, 14. HOT’s Italian opera season is part of Hawai‘i’s 2006 Spring Arts season. Watch for our guide to the season in next month’s issue of HONOLULU.

If you have ever wanted to go to the opera, but don't know where to begin, you're in luck. And if you've bought season tickets to every opera house in every city you've ever lived in, you, too, should take note.

Honolulu has a special opera season coming up.

This month, the Hawai'i Opera Theatre—HOT for short—kicks off six weeks in the company of the superstars of Italian opera, Giacomo Puccini and Giuseppe Verdi. Any one of their five major works would be the centerpiece of a traditional season, but as general and artistic director Henry Akina said, this year HOT threw caution to the winds and asked: "Why not do them all at once?"

The result is a banquet of Italian delights.

The season begins with Verdi's perennially popular masterpiece, Rigoletto, the tale of a hunchbacked jester whose acid tongue sets into motion a series of events that destroys everything he loves. Featuring some seriously star-crossed lovers, Rigoletto opens just in time for Valentine's Day.

photo: Gina Finkelstein

HOT's season ends with a bang in March, with Puccini's Tosca, a famous—and infamous—opera whose searing passions and realistic details transport viewers to Rome during the Napoleonic Wars, and culminate in a celebrated, electrifying finale.

Nestled between these two stars of the Italian opera repertoire is the showpiece of the season. Puccini's late work, Il Trittico (The Tryptich), comprises a diverse trio of shorter operas: Il Tabarro (The Cloak), a Parisian story of illicit love; the bittersweet Suor Angelica (Sister Angelica); and Gianni Schicci, which Akina calls "one of the greatest musical comedies ever written." The practical demands of mounting three separate operas in one evening means that Il Trittico is rarely performed in its entirety. American opera aficionados regard seeing these works together, as the composer intended, to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

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