Auckland opera quartet serenade crowd

Auckland-based group The Shades serenaded the audience with their voices in their first-ever performance in Samoa last Friday.

The group performed at the St. Therese Retreat and Accommodation, Leauvaa as part of a major fundraising drive for the Manu Samoa 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign. 

Appropriately called the “Opera Under the Stars” concert, the classical music quartet was the headliner act at the event, which attracted guests from around Upolu and also featured the National Orchestra of Samoa. 

The group comprises tenors Manase Latu and Ipu Laga’aia, Taka Vuni who is a baritone, and Samson Setu a bass vocalist. They all met at the University of Auckland and have been performing as a group for over two years.

When asked why they supported a Manu Samoa concert, Mr. Setu said even though his journey took a different path to become a professional baritone singer, he had always supported the Manu Samoa team since he was young. 

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“Growing up as kid I have always supported the Manu Samoa,” he said.

Tongan Mr. Latu said he supported Samoa’s national team and if he was not routing for Mate Ma’a Tonga, he would back any other Pacific Island team. 

“Our songs that were chosen for our performance have been specially selected, and a couple of songs are dedicated in Samoan for the guests."

“There are similarities in the two languages, but the hardest part was memorizing the lyrics and with me and Taka being Tongan having to learn the Samoan songs, so please excuse our Samoan,” he added.

Samoa Rugby Union CEO, Faleomava'ega Vincent Fepulea'i, expressed his sincere gratitude to everyone that attended the concert last Friday evening. 

“We acknowledge Tv3, Le Well Co Ltd, Denzal Catering Services, Apia Bottling Co Ltd, Pacific Fiduciaries Ltd, Ulalei Lodge, Immaculate Café, Eveni Carruthers, Radio Polynesia, and Signs Studios,” he said.

He also acknowledged the partnership between Samoa Rugby Union, St. Therese Retreat and Accommodation, and the Opera Under the Stars 2018 organising committee for making the event possible.

The Auckland-based group flew back to New Zealand yesterday. 

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