Sol3 Mio take opera to the masses
Opera, not my thing really until I heard Sol3 Mio.
Three North Shore lads of Samoan descent, who no-one knew of 18 months ago, brought the concertgoers to their feet on Friday night.
Timaru's Theatre Royal was full and every one of the 1100 patrons seemed in awe of Sol3 Mio, made up of brothers Pene and Amitai Pati and their cousin Moses Mackay.
The only thing matching their voices was their presence.
The trio had personality and a great sense of humour, genuinely having fun with each other and some in the audience in the place they dubbed "Tiramisu".
Opera was certainly on the menu but they switch seamlessly between musical genres, from Yellow Bird, to The Rose, Blue Bayou and even their own take on Frank Sinatra's My Way.
In between the trio explained their song choices and their history, which just added to the entertainment.
Pene claimed his father tried to make his family into the Samoan "von Trapps" and thanked him for making him sing every Friday night until his late teens at a rest home his father managed.
The trio also switched between instruments, all taking turns on the piano, guitar, ukulele and bongos.
Pene proudly noted that, orchestra excepted, they play all the instruments on their No 1 album, which is about to be launched in Australia and Europe.
Amitai and Moses also have wonderful voices but they admit the pathway to the top is very tough.
On the night arias gave way to lieder.
American folk song Shenandoah was mixed up with West Side Story's Maria and Leonard Cohen classic Hallelujah. The surprise song (by fans' request) was Edelweiss and the trio rated the audience's crack at the second verse highly.
Tell My Father was a moving rendition of an American Civil War song that again showed their versatility.
The serious stuff was superb and it was easy to see why Pene is considered to be on the way to being the next Pavarotti. Nessun Dorma was fantastic and the Pearl Fishers' duet Arena di Verona was superb.
The trio are certainly making opera accessible.
Fiercely proud of both their New Zealand and Samoan heritages, the last song was a moving rendition of We are Samoa.
What did you think of the concert?
The Timaru Herald