About the Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre

Artist Statement

Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre offers residency programs that are centered on the arts found in opera. Our focus is on music and drama but there are tangents into other areas such as visual art, design, fashion, as well as language, history, math, technology, and more. Our program takes those involved through the process of producing and performing an opera or operetta and culminates with a performance by your students. Grades 1 through 12 have participated in performing grand operas by composers such as Verdi and Donizetti, and operettas by Gilbert and Sullivan. Projects have also involved the students in developing their own story which is then turned into an original opera. These original operas have included Save the Habitats, Life Changing World, Story of the Ahupua’a, and The D.A.R.E. Opera. In addition to creation, music, and staging, we will supply portable theatrical lights and sound as needed for your performance. Bonuses include taking the students on a field trip to visit a professional opera set as well as a complimentary performance of our touring production to your school.

Artist Biography

Hawaii Opera Theatre (HOT), founded in 1960 as part of the Honolulu Symphony Society, was independently chartered as a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) in 1980. As a cultural/educational institution, HOT is the only performing arts organization in Hawaii presenting Grand Opera, to increase the public’s awareness and appreciation of an art form that provides a unique combination of music, theatre and dance. Hawaii Opera Theatre’s continuing goal is to be recognized as an outstanding regional opera company with a strong financial position that consistently produces the highest quality performances.

Teaching Artists

  • Becky Giles: Ms. Giles has sung with Hawaii Opera Theater from 2005-2021 and was selected to be in the top performing group for Mae Z. Orvis Opera Studio with HOT.   She received her Bachelor of Music Degree from the University of Kansas in 2004 and has since attended the Neil Semer Vocal Institute, Dresden Germany, participated in numerous opera workshops, including working with Mark Morash of San Francisco Opera, Tim Shaindlin of  Yale University,  and Dr. Kari Ragan of University of  WA. Ms. Giles has worked with HOT in various outreach programs as well as various other schools ranging from elementary to high school.
  • Leslie Goldman is an alumni of the prestigious Interlochen Arts Academy and the Manhattan School of music. She has performed in companies on the mainland and in Europe where she hit the stage as Musetta from Puccini’s La Boheme, Susanna from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro and Adina from Donizetti’s L’elisir D’amore to name a few. Since she has moved back home to Hawaiʻi in 2014, she has been a part of the Mae Orvis Studio for Hawaii Opera Theatre where she has had the opportunity to participate in many comprimario roles on the main stage as well in concerts around the island. In 2020 digital season, she will be singing The Witch for the debut perform of “Chicken Skin”, she will also be singing the role of The Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors by Menotti. She is also a lead teaching artist for HOT ‘s outreach program and their Orvis Young Voices studio.
  • Erik Haines, HOT Director of Education & Teaching Artist : Erik Haines has been HOT’s Director of Education since 1992 and has been instrumental in the tremendous growth of HOT’s outreach activities. He is credited with HOT receiving The Opera America Success Award for educational programming at the 1999 Opera America Conference. He has been a National Association of Teachers of Singing State Governor, a board member of the Hawaiʻi Alliance for Arts Education and served as president of the Waikele Elementary PTSO for five years. HOT audiences have seen Haines as Normanno in “Lucia di Lammermoor” and Fiorello in “The Barber of Seville”, and most recently, as the Duke of Verona in “Romeo et Juliet”. He has also performed in a variety of education and outreach events for the company. 
  • Nicole Sakata: Ms. Sakata has a degree in music theory from Brandeis University. Her various roles have been both in the classroom and in the office for music programs in the islands. She has taught as a director and worked in administration for the Hawaiʻi Youth Opera Chorus. She has taught in the collaborative (HYOC and Hawaiian Music hall of Fame) E Mele Kākou music program for many years before taking over the coordinator role. She now works in the education department of the Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, where due to the COVID-19 wrench, has now added digital, audio, and various computer skills to her resume.
  • Eric Schank: Prior to joining Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre in 2006, Eric Schank was an accompanist for the University of Hawaiʻi, at Mānoa, music department, as well as for the University’s dance department. Undergraduate studies with Edward Shipwright at the University of Hawaiʻi were followed by further studies with Eugene Mancini and Stephanie Brown at the University of Akron. In addition to his work with Hawaiʻi Opera Theatre, he also currently serves as the pianist for the Hawaiʻi Vocal Arts Ensemble.


Children in a classroom raising their hands

About the Artistic Teaching Partner Roster