Island opera dates back more than 150 years. For much of this period, performances—a combination of companies braving the perils of long ocean crossings and local efforts—waxed and waned.
“Opera in Honolulu has been like Hawaii’s volcanoes,” wrote an observer in the early 1960s, summing up the first century-plus. “Historically it has burst into brilliant displays, then lapsed into periods of sleep … a time which has seen surges of serious singing end as tragically as one of the well-known Italian operas.”
The ink was barely dry on the article when the situation became HOT—Honolulu Opera Theatre, that is. From its first presentation of Madame Butterfly in a high school auditorium in 1961, the company has become a central element in the city’s cultural scene. Now HOT offers three operas—almost always from the standard repertoire—in a concentrated season between late January and early March.
A combination of shrewd investments, solid ticket sales, dedicated donors, and the annual Opera Ball enable HOT to consistently finish in the black every year. The company works to develop future audiences with its Opera Express touring company, HOT Residency in selected schools, low-cost student tickets, and other initiatives.
Hawaii Opera Information
- Handicapped Accessibility: Yes
- Performance/Programs: Performances are on Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., and Sundays at 4 p.m.
- Admission: Single tickets are $29-$120. College student tickets available for $20.
- Subscription/Memberships: 3-opera season subscriptions are $81-$333. Subscriber benefits include ticket exchange privileges and the ability to get seat upgrades when available. Memberships start at $100 and include benefits such as invitation to annual meeting & dinner and 10% shop discount.