UH Mānoa’s Appetite for Opera

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UH Mānoa’s Symphony Orchestra was well-received at the end of the fall semester as Prof. Joseph Stepec made his conducting debut. The evening opened with the Concert Band led by Dr. Gabriel Arnold and was followed by the Symphony, led by Prof. Stepec. During the orchestra’s performance, players accompanied faculty soloist Dr. Maya Hoover in an opera-themed program of works by Verdi, Bizet, Gounod, and Borodin.

Opera is a jealous lover, and one not unlike the protagonist in Sapho—the final aria of which followed selections from Carmen during the concert. UH Mānoa adds another chapter to Hawai‘i’s love affair with opera. It is not faculty alone that enjoy the operatic limelight. Students explore artistry in opera curriculum at UH Mānoa through master classes, directed learning, and community outreach.

Whether a performer or scholar, there is something at UH Mānoa for opera lovers. The archives at UH Mānoa, for example, hold a number of rarities pertaining to opera culture in Hawai‘i. The opera Liliu recounts the life of Queen Lili‘uokalani during the annexation of Hawai‘i. Composer Alexander Borisoff previewed his opera at a festival with the same namesake nearly forty years ago this fall. Also in the archives, Mohailani: A Hawaiian Historical Comic Opera in Three Acts stands as the only operetta written by Queen Lili‘uokalani, who is said to have composed music to pass the time while waiting for congress to act.

Post by John Paul Brabant

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