Pene and Amitai Pati's busy schedules have aligned and they are finally able to perform as The Pati Brothers in support of Good Neighbour Trust in Tauranga next month.
The smash-hit opera family Sol3 Mio — Pene, Amitai and Moses Mackay — have been on hiatus while Pene and Amitai chase their opera dreams overseas with the San Francisco Opera Company.
Pene and wife Amina finished ahead of Amitai at the prestigious company. Amitai has a small window from the company and is able to come home.
Pene is back in New Zealand combining opera with comedy, a first for him, with Amina and Pene playing the lead roles with the New Zealand Opera Company's production The Elixir of Love in Wellington.
Pene says his experience with the San Francisco Opera Company has been truly amazing.
"It was a two year programme which is very prestigious and very hard to get into. Thousands audition for the summer school and they only take 22. Then only two to three get to be part of the company. I was lucky enough to be chosen with my wife and then my brother — three people from the same family!" he says.
Pene played the principal role of the Duca in Verdi's Rigoletto last year and then the lead Alfredo in La Traviata. It was the first time in the history of the opera they had three family members on stage at the same time, he says.
Pene has also made the cut on a remarkable list — ahead of the Classic BRIT Awards, Classic FM picked Pene as one of the 30 new classical artists (under the age of 30).
The differences between acting/singing in an opera and being with Sol3 Mio are worlds apart, Pene says.
"With Sol3 Mio we meet up the night before (a gig) and we run the programme once and then we go on stage so we don't know what the other person is going to do or say — it's completely off the cuff.
"But with opera you have rehearsals and you perfect your part, I kind of like the spending time to perfect the character. I like getting lost in the different characters ... fortunately or unfortunately for me the tenor is always the love struck one. It's nice but sometimes, let me play the crazy guy or something else instead of the lovestruck 'oh woe is me, someone love me'.
"There's a lot of fun to performing as Sol3 Mio. Not to say that opera is not fun, but it is our programme. We can sing what we want, we don't have to be singing all the hard songs all of the time, we bounce between the three of us and we have a lot of hilarious moments on stage whereas with an opera — unless you are in a comedy opera — you have to be on your game all the time."
Sol3 Mio will start up again at the end of the year, he says.
"All starts again in December (after Amitai finishes his time with the opera company).
"This is the beauty of a classical group like Sol3 Mio, this is the thing that brings us together, however we can all have individual careers, a lot of groups need to be together to make it work but as long as you're doing something that you have wanted to achieve — that's the goal.
"Everyone knows Sol3 Mio are on hiatus and pursuing our own opera careers and this concert will be a nice way of letting people know what we have been up to and it's kind of a nice way to let people hear about the progression of our careers."
Pene also loves the Good Neighbour concept.
What: The Pati Brothers, Pene and Amitai Pati
Where: Holy Trinity Church
When: Sunday, July 29, 7.30pm