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Polynesian Tenors Pay Tribute to Mario Lanza

Touring NZ 4 July 2024 - 5 August 2024

Operatunity Daytime Concerts present 3 Tenors Tribute to Mario Lanza in its latest national season, touring 22 cities from Invercargill to Whangarei in July and August.

The Operatunity 3 Tenors first appeared in concerts together in 2010 and re-unite to pay tribute to this great star. Two of our tenors are NZ Polynesians: Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua of Cook Island descent and Benjamin Makisi of Samoan/Tongan descent. It is a well-known fact that Māori and Pacific Islanders can sing and are intrinsically musical. This is evident with the emergence of greatly talented Polynesian opera singers: our own Dame Kiri and Inia Te Wiata were international superstars and in more recent times, professional artists like Jonathan Lemalu, the Sol3 Mio tenors and Aivale Cole come to mind as well as Bonaventure and Ben, who both sing in NZ and internationally.

The tenor has always been considered the rarest and most romantic of voices, conjuring up music of sultry passion and wonderful melodies. So why are Polynesians so well represented as operatic tenors?  It is hard to know. Definitely one has to be able to sing, but more than that, they come from a heritage of music, harmony and communal singing, be it in their wider community or in churches. We pay tribute to families, church leaders and many secondary school teachers who mentored these great talents hiding in their midst.

“Our 3 Tenors project a passion for singing and a love for their audiences. They want everyone to come along for this wonderful musical journey,” says Susan Boland, Managing Director of Operatunity.

Mario Lanza was dubbed the ‘Voice of the Century’. He was the first singer ever to earn gold records in both classical and popular categories with millions sold. In 1951 he was earning nearly one million dollars per year. Be My Love was the highest grossing single in 1951. Mario was responsible for inspiring many great tenors, including the world famous Three Tenors: Pavarotti, Domingo and Carreras and New Zealand’s own international tenor, Simon O’Neill. Like many great stars, his was a life of agony and ecstasy, dying at the young age of 38!  Mario Lanza was born to sing, and lived to sing. He said, “I sing from the heart. I feel each note from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. I sing each word as though it were my last on earth.”

Our 3 tenors - Bonaventure Allan-Moetaua, Benjamin Makisi, and NZ Canadian, Derek Hill, join forces with the great talents of international soprano Amanda Atlas, Variety Artist Male Singer of the Year Karl Perigo, and pianist Paul Carnegie-Jones to tell the story of Mario Lanza through his great songs including Be My Love, Because, Come Back to Sorrento, Granada, Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life, Nessun Dorma, songs from his movies including The Student Prince and favourite Neapolitan and opera - the list goes on. 

3 Tenor Benjamin Makisi
3 Tenor Benjamin Makisi


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