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Five Minutes with Sol3 Mio

Five Minutes with Sol3 Mio


Victoria Tait speaks with Pene and Amitai Pati and Moses Mackay from Sol3 Mio about their music, career highlights and more.

Sol3 Mio Christmas In The Vines credit Bradley GarnerSol3 Mio has been described as a group bridging the gap between classical and contemporary music. The two tenor brothers, Pene and Amitai Pati, and cousin Moses Mackay, have become world famous for their fresh and unique perspective on opera, which has, in turn, made the music more accessible to the masses. The singers have exploded onto the world’s music scene with their unbelievable talent and onstage presence that brings the audience back time and time again. At Christmas In The Vines, on December 17, Sol3 Mio were joined on stage by Stan Walker and Hayley Westenra and were accompanied by the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra, at Waipara Hills Winery.

How do you describe your music?
Our music is definitely an eclectic mix of classical and contemporary music. Of course, our primary discipline is opera/classical, so we try to mix old-school favourites in a way that respects both genres. Our music is filled with our own personalities – you can hear the humour, you can hear the drama, you can hear the ‘Sol3 Mio-ness’ if you will… that’s what I think makes our music, ours. Our music is nostalgic sentiment in a song, but also emotionally driven and powerfully stirring. – Pene

Opera tends to be quite serious, yet Sol3 Mio is known for taking a more relaxed approach. Do you think this has made opera more accessible to a wider audience?
Absolutely. This is the key to appealing to a ‘newer’ audience. People believe in a stereotype about opera being stand-offish, upper-class and for the chosen few, and that’s what stops them from having a taste. But classical music is in everyday life, through TV, movies and jingles – people just don’t know that. By taking opera and making people realise this, we instantly have access to this wider audience. Opera has been going through the ages. Why? Because it’s a movie in song format. We lose this appeal in today’s music. A relaxed approach on opera reassures the audience that this music can be for everyone. We invite everyone to our world and make them realise that this has been a part of their life too, they just didn’t know it.
– Pene

What has been your career highlight?
A career highlight has to be becoming an Adler Fellow with San Francisco Opera – very privileged to be a part of such a prestigious programme and an amazing company. With Sol3 Mio, performing at Vector Arena, as it was always a goal that we wanted to achieve. It’s a blessing to be able to achieve what you set out to do, and it’s definitely a milestone that we will never forget. – Amitai

What is your favourite Christmas carol, and why?
My favourite carol will have to be Shepherd’s Pipe Carol. I sang this as a chorister with The Graduate Choir NZ, and it’s always been a carol I’ve enjoyed performing and listening to. Listening to it also brings back some good memories of me and my brother trying to learn to read music and sing in time for the first time. Carol singing had a huge impact on our development as musicians. – Amitai

Who is the biggest comedian of the group?
I don’t classify myself as a comedian at all, and if I do crack a joke it’ll usually be for my own amusement, in which I will laugh over and over again! You’ll have to have the Pati boys fight for that title.
– Moses

Who inspires you?

I always say that if you don’t want to do something because you’re nervous, scared, unconfident… then do it for someone who can’t.
– Moses