Tim Finn prepares to deliver his first opera with ‘Star Navigator’

Without doubt one of the biggest cultural events on the calendar for 2020 is the West Australian Opera’s production of Star Navigator, a new work by musician Tim Finn.

The brand new opera, Finn’s first, was commissioned by West Australian Opera, New Zealand Opera and Victorian Opera and supported by the state government of Western Australia.

Based on the true story of Tupaia, a Tahitian star navigator who sailed with James Cook on the Endeavour, work explores the 1770 meeting of two master mariners, each from vastly different backgrounds and cultures: Cook, the exceptionally talented sailor steeped in the European traditions of seafaring and navigation, and Tupaia, with his encyclopedic knowledge of the geography of Pacific region and the succession of stars to follow to travel between the Polynesian islands.

Although Tupaia and Cook were equally at home amidst the beauties and terrors of the sea, the work highlights the tragic irony of these two navigators of genius not being able to find their way into each other’s worlds.

This landmark event will be presented as a staged concert featuring international soloists, including Tongan-American superstar tenor, Ta’u Pupu’a, a former NFL footballer who was discovered by Dame Kiri Te Kanawa following a foot injury that ended his football career.

Appearing with Ta’u will be Western Australia’s James Clayton as Captain Cook along with Samoan soprano, Marlena Devoe, singing the role of Tupaia’s Tahitian lover, Purea. The production will be narrated by French-Polynesian writer, Célestine Hitiura Vaite. The West Australian Symphony Orchestra will also feature in this world premiere performance.

Finn made his mark as the songwriter and lead singer of New Zealand band Split Enz, writing many of the band’s big hits including Six Months in a Leaky Boat, My Mistake, I See Red, I Hope I Never, Dirty Creature, 

In the early 1980’s he launched his solo career releasing the high-selling album Escapade which was packed with hit songs including Fraction Too Much Friction, Made My Day, Through The Years, Staring at the Embers and In a Minor Key. 

Finn would go to release another eight solo albums, but would also spend time as a member of Crowded House, reuniting him with his younger brother Neil Finn who was also a member of Split Enz.

The Finn Brothers also put out two collaborative albums, and Tim made appearances on some on Neil’s solo records, He also formed the band Alt with Irish singer Andy White and Liam Ó Maonlaí, the frontman of Hothouse Flowers.

Star Navigator will be the first new music from Tim Finn in over a decade. Tickets are on sale now.

OIP Staff, image: Sean Finney.

Tags: , , , ,