Release date: 5/27/2021
Launch Event: In Conversation with Pene Pati
LIVE: Thursday, May 27 at 4 pm PT
San Francisco Opera’s new short-form song and storytelling video portrait series, In Song, continues with the premiere of In Song: Pene Pati. To celebrate the release of this new episode, a live conversation between the Samoan-born tenor and In Song director and executive producer Elena Park will be streamed Thursday, May 27, at 4 pm Pacific on Facebook. The episode is free and now available at sfopera.com, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram.
Pati, who hails from a tight-knit, musical Von Trapp-like family of performers, reveals their centrality in his life and musical journey through reminiscences with his parents and songs with his father, Pene Pati, Sr., and brother, tenor Amitai Pati. Filmed on location in Mangere, New Zealand, the 15-minute In Song: Pene Pati includes musical selections “La’u Lupe” (“My Dove”), a traditional Samoan song, and the romantic ballad “La Serenata” by Italian composer Paolo Tosti performed by Pati accompanying himself on ukulele.
Pati shares, “I didn’t even know singing was a talent in the beginning. I really didn’t. It was so embedded in our culture and in our DNA that you sing on your history. Opera, in a sense, is all about that. You’re singing a story to the next person and they pass it on.”
On pursuing an operatic career as a Pacific Islander, he says in the film: “I think my biggest motivator was knowing that I need to be the guy that shields the next lot of singers … it clears the path for the next lot of Pacific singers who want to chase the dream.”
Pene Pati has been praised by the San Francisco Chronicle for his “magical, indescribable charisma that radiates beyond the footlights and compels you to pay attention to everything he does.” Of his 2019 portrayal as Roméo in Gounod’s Romeo and Juliet, the Chronicle observed “Pati sings in a gleaming, sensuous stream of sound.” In 2017, Opera New proclaimed his “ringing tenor is a thing of beauty” when Pati made his role debut as the Duke of Mantua in a cast for Verdi’s Rigoletto that also included wife Amina Edris (Countess Ceprano) and brother Amitai Pati (Borsa). Along with his acclaimed performances on the War Memorial Opera House stage, the former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow has appeared with New Zealand’s Festival Opera, Opéra National de Bordeaux, the Berlin State Opera, the Vienna State Opera, Washington National Opera and Opera San José. Since 2012, Pati has also been a member of Sol3 Mio, the popular, platinum-selling New Zealand trio formed together with his brother and cousin.
In Song is a series of intimate video portraits featuring remarkable San Francisco Opera artists who draw us into their distinctive spheres through stories and song—from classical to bluegrass, spirituals and Samoan songs. Launched in March 2021 with In Song: J’Nai Bridges, each episode invites us into the singer’s world to see how they express themselves through deep connections to song. Upcoming episodes will feature mezzo-soprano Jamie Barton with special guest banjo virtuoso Béla Fleck, tenor Arturo Chacón-Cruz and soprano Amina Edris.
In Song, along with San Francisco Opera’s other new digital content initiatives including the podcast North Stage Door and Atrium Sessions, is made possible, in part, through generous gifts to the Creative Edge Fund, founded by Carol and Dixon Doll.
*For the complete press release, please view the attached PDF.