Kamehameha Students Make History with Hawaiian Opera
Students from Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi campus made history on Friday, performing their Hawaiian opera, Hāʻupu, for the first time at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
It was the first Hawaiian language production and first production to feature hula and oli (chant) in the nearly seven decade old history of the Fringe. In doing so, it marked a major milestone for the Hawaiian culture in reaching this audience across the globe.
Kamehameha Schools Hawaiʻi was selected to participate in the festival over 15 months ago, and over that time countless hours have been spent preparing for this moment. The production featured in Scotland is adapted from the school’s Hōʻike, which was performed in March 2016.
Hāʻupu tells the legend of Kana and Nīheu and their daring rescue of their mother Hina, from a Molokaʻi chief who kidnapped her in attempt to barter a peace and preserve the way of life for his people. It has been compared to the myth of Helen of Troy.
Nineteen students from KS Hawaiʻi are taking part in this experience with the American High School Theater Festival. They have spent the last week touring the United Kingdom, taking part in a workshop at the Shakespeare’s Globe theater, attending other productions and interacting with peers from across the United States.
The Edinburgh Festival Fringe is the world’s largest performing arts festival with nearly 4,300 shows performed over the course of roughly a month.