Since the summer of 2005, the 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.
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 one-night only 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, including internationally-acclaimed guitarist, Jeff Linsky.
“The combination of movies and music has captivated people of all ages and walks of life for over a century, and I’m no exception,” says James Harrington (above). “The program is an amazing lineup of iconic songs, many of which were formative in my own musical development. Getting to sing them with a live band is coming to be a dream come true.”
Fresh off her recent debut with the Princeton Symphony Orchestra, guest artist and mezzo-soprano Paulina Villarreal (left) shares some excitement of her own. “This program presents some of the most well-known songs that many of us grew up with—songs that I have always loved, but never had the chance to perform.”
Audiences can expect an explosive evening of beloved favorites, according to Moniz. “This entire season is a celebration— a celebration of the stories that have been shared, the artists who have been featured, and the community, which has been our driving force for HPAF throughout the past 15 years. We want to pay honor to our local ohana, who has welcomed us with open arms since 2005. This is simply a feel good evening of music—and what better way to kick off our season than with popular dance tunes and beloved love ballads.”
In addition to Hollywood Hits and 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.
If You Go…
Hollywood Hits runs for one night only on Tuesday, June 25 at 7pm. Tickets can be secured by contacting the Kahilu Theatre Box Office at (808) 885-6868 or by visiting: www.kahilutheatre.org. Tickets are now on sale for all events. For a full list of offerings and more information, please visit: www.hawaiiperformingartsfestival.org.