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Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre Streams Mozart's BASTIEN & BASTIENNE

Audiences can pre-order the production now and begin streaming the comedy online at HOT Digital on February 12. 

Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre Streams Mozart's BASTIEN & BASTIENNE

Hawai'i Opera Theatre has announced the upcoming production of 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.

"We've developed a production that has a real indie feel to it and we've relied locally on the depth of talent in the islands to create something that we think our audience will really enjoy," says HOT General Director Andrew Morgan. "It's funny, quick, and witty. It also releases just before Valentine's Day, which makes for a perfect date-night."

To remain nimble in the age of COVID, HOT has tapped into their inner well of creativity to craft something truly unique with their digital production of Bastien & Bastienne. By incorporating a sense of place that we might all recognize (the story unfolds amid the rolling ranch lands of the Big Island, with images courtesy of Kahua Ranch in Kamuela) this production feels both unique and relevant to opera aficionados and first-time opera goers alike. HOT's pivot to a digital experience with the HOT Digital site and mobile apps for Apple and Android devices is akin to witnessing new art emerge in real time. Viewers can see first-hand how technology, the pandemic, and creativity have all come together to yield something new and decidedly fun.

According to Morgan, transitioning from a mainstage production into a digital medium, all the while ensuring that the crew take all the necessary precautions against COVID, didn't come without its fair share of obstacles. "We had to approach this production from an entirely different vantage point," he says. "We had to look at this through a new lens, ensuring that we're cognizant of all the elements that have to happen to allow this story to shine in a digital world, not on the mainstage. There were hurdles, sure, but that's also what I love about this project; we've had to all work together to make this happen. Opera has to evolve and serve the times. Yes, we love to do large-scale productions, and look forward to doing them again in the future, but this New Medium really does allow us to build something special and exciting."

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