Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre to Present Mozart’s ‘Bastien and Bastienne’ With Island-Inspired Digital Production

By Chris Ruel

Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre (HOT) will present the company’s digital debut of Mozart’s “Bastien & Bastienne” beginning on February 12 at HOT Digital. Audiences can pre-order tickets now.

Written in 1768 when Mozart was 12-years-old, “Bastien & Bastienne” is a one-act opera about two young lovers who after a quarrel come back together through the help of Colas, the village magician of questionable skill.

“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,” said HOT General Director Andrew Morgan in a press release. “It’s funny, quick, and witty. It also releases just before Valentine’s Day, which makes for a perfect date-night.”

Morgan will make his directorial debut with the theatre. Mozart is a favorite of Morgan’s, having directed 20 productions, most recently at Pocket Opera and Livermore Valley Opera, in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Starring in the production is HOT Resident Artist tenor Taka Komagata as Bastien and local favorite Martina Bingham as Bastienne. Jamie Offenbach sings the part of Colas, the magician. Morgan has also introduced a narrator into the production named Sam the Sheepdog, a hand-puppet voiced by Brother Gary Morris, retired Associate Professor of Performing Arts at Chaminade University.

Like many companies, COVID has pushed HOT into the digital realm to maintain the safety of artists and audiences alike.

“We had to approach this production from an entirely different vantage point,” Morgan stated. “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.”