Opera has been part of island culture for more than a century. Its history in Hawaiʻi, which dates back to the 1850s, includes stories of Queen Emma singing in the chorus of Verdi’s Il Trovatore while her husband, King Kamehameha IV served as the stage manager! Today, Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre is known for its vibrant and creative productions and award-winning education programs. General Director Andrew Morgan became the company’s fifth executive leader, bringing over 25 years of experience as a non-profit leader, singer and stage director.
With focus on talent from Hawai’i and infusions of local culture, we asked Morgan where he sees HOT’s place in the community and beyond.
“Everything the company has been moving towards since Andrew arrived builds upon HOT’s rich tradition of creating world-class productions, having an award-winning education program that has seen such talents like internationally acclaimed Native-Hawaiian Baritone Quinn Kelsey, and a volunteer chorus that brings to stage the rich diversity of the islands is paving the way towards Andrew’s long terms vision of the Asia Pacific Voices Project, embracing this region and sharing its talents with the world.”
And there are some exciting productions in the works.
“Mozart’s Bastien & Bastienne, a one-act comic opera that has captivated audiences for generations. In true creative fashion, HOT has taken this production in an inspiring new digital direction that sees HOT’s General Director, Andrew Morgan, making his directorial debut with the theatre. Mr. Morgan, who is known for directing Mozart, has directed over 20 productions, most recently at Pocket Opera and Livermore Valley Opera in the San Francisco Bay Area. The production stars HOT Resident Artist Tenor Taka Komagata (Bastien) and local favorite Martina Bingham (Bastienne) along with Jamie Offenbach as Colas, the village soothsayer. Morgan also introduced a narrator, Sam the Sheepdog, to the production, a hand-puppet voiced by Brother Gary Morris, retired Associate Professor of Performing Arts at Chaminade University. Audiences can pre-order the production now and begin streaming the comedy online at HOT Digital on February 12. First written in 1768 by Mozart when he was only 12 years old, Bastien & Bastienne tells the story of a spat between two young lovers, guided back to each other with the help of Colas, a magical character of comically dubious talents. Over the years, countless productions of this timeless opera have entertained audiences around the world, but there has never been anything quite like what’s been crafted for HOT Digital.”
Tickets are available online at https://hotdigital.vhx.tv/products/mozart-s-bastien-and-bastienne