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Music to your ears: Five Canadian operas you need to hear in 2019

Music to your ears: Five Canadian operas you need to hear in 2019

January 9, 2019

"...Hook Up (Chris Thornborrow and Julie Tepperman), Tapestry Opera, January:

The world premiere of Hook Up might be where your ears get tested this season – after all, it’s Tapestry Opera – but not without good reason. Following Selfie, his 2015 collaboration with Tapestry, which addressed online bullying, Chris Thornborrow’s Hook Up talks about consent, shame and other elements of modern sexual relationships. As a composer, Thornborrow’s style is versatile and not without eclecticism; you may not always be sure what key his music is in, but he certainly isn’t the sort to obscure a good story with inaccessible music.

Shanawdithit (Dean Burry and Yvette Nolan), Tapestry Opera, May:

Dean Burry’s operas come with a good dose of kooky dissonance, but if his widespread audience of young listeners can handle it, so can the adults. A large part of Burry’s output has been opera for young people (The Brothers Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians); he stretches the limits of tonality, but he prioritizes dramatic timing and an organic way of setting text, elements that go far in making dissonant music sound natural. Burry, originally from Newfoundland, is a composer who immerses himself in the stories he tells with his operas. It’s worth remembering this when Tapestry Opera puts up his 1996 opera Shanawdithit – named after the young woman of the Beothuk, an Indigenous people of Newfoundland."


Related Composers: Chris Thornborrow, Dean Burry