The Divine Tenors: Pene and Amatai Pati are an opera phenomenon. Just you wait. They are stepping in, conjointly, to take over Pavarotti’s role as number one on the world singing stage. Luciano Pavarotti was born 12 October 1935, and died on the 6th September 2007, which was a sad loss to the world. It is just three days away, NZ time, to the fifth anniversary of his death.
But now we have the Pati brothers – whose surname, incidentally, is a shortened version of Pavarotti – the first two letters, and the last two, of Pavarotti’s name, spell Pati. These young men are truly an opera SENSATION. Miriama Kamo featured the Pati brothers two weeks ago on her programme, ‘Sunday’, which is on every Sunday night, TVNZ Channel One, at 7.30PM.
The Pati brothers are New Zealand Samoans who were brought up in South Auckland, one of the poorer areas of New Zealand. This is a remarkable thing in itself, that these brothers with this amazing opera talent did not come from a family who gave them years and years of special music lessons and training. However, their Samoan parents have Blessed them with those traditional singing genes, and much more besides. They were also fortunate to find themselves in a school whose music teacher recognized the potential in their voices, and who has guided them musically for the duration of their high-school years.
The most extraordinary thing is to find not one, but TWO voices in the same family who have been Blessed with this most extraordinary talent. Finding just one of these voices anywhere in the world is such a rarity – To find two such gifted opera tenors in the one country, in the one family, is just about unheard of.
Tthere are many good tenors in the world, but few who possess this most compelling beauty of tone, of sound, and few who present such grace and sensitivity in the delivery of the music. To cap it all off, BOTH these young men have an absolutely awesome stage presence. They are simply born-again opera stars, of that I am sure. And I am sure that Pavarotti is smiling down on them from above.
On the home front, Miriama’s ‘Sunday’ show took us to meet the Pati boys’ music teacher from their high school in South Auckland. We met their family, heard their Dad sing, and we heard the brothers performing at a special fund-raising function in Cambridge, where famous NZ opera star Malvina Major was present to hear their show.
On the overseas front, we were taken to London to meet Kiri Te Kanawa, and to hear how she has become a friend of Pene Pati, who has been studying at an opera school in Wales for the past six months. Pene said that it seemed unbelievable to him, coming from a poor South Auckland Samoan family, to be spending Sunday morning, in London, breakfasting at the house of NZ opera-diva Kiri Te Kanawa.
Both Kiri Te Kanawa and Malvina Major say that Pene Pati has an exceptionally wonderful voice. All the signs are there that he we will become the leading light in Europe, taking over all those tenor roles which Pavarotti was famous for.
That is, until his younger brother has trained up to the same level, and earned himself the same fame which his brother is fast gaining:
Amatai Pati, who is just two years younger than Pene, has also been accepted into the same Welsh opera college, which is very exciting for the family, and for Amatai himself.
On last night’s ‘Sunday’, we had another glimpse of Amatai, who has just won a singing competition with $10,000 prize money and a host of other benefits. He is off to Wales soon, I believe.
I really cannot wait to buy a CD of the Pati brothers, and I hope Miriama Kamo lets us hear some more of their singing quite soon. To hear them singing together is really quite wonderful. I have never heard such a beautiful unaccompanied rendition of ‘Amazing Grace’, which we heard them singing on the stage at their old school. Their harmonies, when they sing together, are exquisite.
Keep us posted, Miriama. We love the Pati brothers already, and wish them well in their careers. When I played the piano at my regular rest-home hospital on the Whangaparaoa two weeks ago, the old ladies were enthusing over the ‘Sunday’ programme. The subject of the Pati brothers, the beauty of their voices, and their associations with Malvina Major and Kiri Te Kanawa, kept us occupied for at least ten minutes.
This story of the sensational Pati brothers is one of the most exciting ones of the whole decade, not just 2012.