Opera Daily 🎶 — Tenor Pene Pati and Miles Davis on being ourselves

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

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Hello friends,

A friend sent me this link from the New Zealand musical trio SOL3 MIO, covering “Hold Me While You Wait” by Scottish singer-songwriter Lewis Capaldi. 

It’s funny how this more mainstream act led me to the opera. I guess sometimes we do need a bridge.

Of Samoan descent and classically trained, SOL3 MIO consists of Moses Mackay, a baritone, and the Pati brothers (Pene and Amitai), both operatic tenors.

When I listened to the performance above, all I could think was, my God, this is honest singing. 

I’ve written about this before, but good singing is far more direct and honest than people think it is. You don’t need special knowledge and training to understand good opera singing either. You know how to spot it! 

Good singers should sound like themselves.

Like Pavarotti, it’s not hard to spot Pene Pati because his singing is unaffected, honest, and direct.

San Francisco Opera’s new video portrait series In Song recently profiled Pene Pati. It gave me a better understanding of why we hear such honest singing from him. 

I didn’t even know singing was a talent in the beginning.

It was so embedded in our culture.

— Pene Pati

It can sometimes take a very long time to “sound” like ourselves. I put that word in quotes because I think you can substitute it with any creative pursuit. 

Miles Davis said it best,

Sometimes it takes you a long time to sound like yourself.

The jazz legend spent earlier parts of his career imitating the greats.

Eventually, he became one.

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Want to hear more Pene Pati?

  • Pene Pati as The Duke of Mantua singing the cabaletta from Rigoletto by Giuseppe Verdi (1 minute listen)

  • Pene Pati singing "Una furtiva lagrima", from L'Elisir d'Amore by Donizetti in the final concert of NEUE STIMMEN 2015 (5 minute listen)

Thank you for reading (and listening),

Michele

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