Since the summer of 2005, Hawaii Performing Arts Festival (HPAF) has continued to bring world-class music to Hawaii Island. Over the past fifteen years, HPAF has garnered an international reputation as a premiere training and performance program for aspiring young artists worldwide, many of whom have gone onto significant careers as singers, conductors, directors, orchestral musicians, and teachers. Each season, HPAF assembles an exceptional roster of faculty artists who provide instruction and appear in a series of events for the Big Island community. From June 24 through July 21, HPAF will present nearly 20 public performances at a number of notable island venues from Kona to Hilo, featuring both student and faculty artists.
On Monday, June 24, HPAF will begin with a special pre-season fundraiser event entitled, Karaoke With the Stars, sponsored by the Kahilu Theatre. The evening will include karaoke performances by HPAF’s world-class faculty as well as event attendees. “For years, our patrons have expressed the desire to connect with our faculty artists, many of whom have graced some of the world’s greatest stages, received Grammy Awards, and held faculty positions at some of the nation’s most prestigious universities and conservatories. This special evening allows patrons to mingle with some of our most impressive artists prior to the official start of this season. And what better way to do that than with karaoke, food, and drink?” says HPAF Executive Director Justin John Moniz. “We are very excited for this very unique evening and are especially grateful to our friends at the Kahilu Theatre who have donated use of the The Mike Luce Studio for this intimate affair.” All proceeds from this event will support HPAF’s Student Scholarship Fund.
The season will officially open on Tuesday, June 25 at 7:00pm with Hollywood Hits at The Kahilu Theatre in Waimea. The program includes music of the movies including tunes from Dirty Dancing, Fame, Moana, Goldfinger, Guys and Dolls, The Lion King, and countless others. The performance features HPAF Executive Director and three-time winner of The American Prize in Vocal Performance, Justin John Moniz; Mexican mezzo-soprano Paulina Villarreal (Opera Saratoga, Boston Pops, Princeton Symphony); and critically acclaimed bass James Harrington (Santa Fe Opera, Nashville Opera, Boston Lyric Opera). The evening is musically directed by Phil Kadet and will be accompanied by a five-piece band.
A number of programs featuring HPAF’s impressive instrumentalists are also featured on the upcoming Summer Festival. “Chamber music has long been a beloved part of our festival, and we are thrilled to present Great Performances I and II, which will feature our outstanding roster of instrumental musicians,” said Moniz. “Our artistic team has assembled two unbelievable programs for these events, so we hope folks will take advantage of the opportunity to hear these world-class artists up close, and free of charge.” Great Performances I and II are just two of the free performances HPAF will offer this season. Other highlights of the organization’s Free Concert Series include HPAF’s presentation of guitarist Jeff Linsky at The Shops at Mauna Lani on June 26.
In addition to their many concert offerings, HPAF will offer three mainstage productions accompanied by full orchestra, including Peter Brook’s adaptation of Bizet’s masterpiece, The Tragedy of Carmen, Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Stephen Sondheim’s Company. Performances of The Tragedy of Carmen and Sondheim’s Company will be presented at both the Kahilu Theatre in Waimea and the Palace Theatre in Hilo. A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be presented in Davies Chapel at Hawaii Preparatory Academy.
“Our season offers something for everyone. Whether your passion is opera, chamber music, jazz, musical theatre, or art song, I would encourage you to explore this season’s offerings, and even try something new! Bring a friend—show them who we are, what we do, and give them the opportunity to discover the tremendous impact of four simple letters… H—P—A—F,” added Moniz.
Photos from HPAF’s 2018 Season by Steve Roby