Iron road

Ka Nin Chan
Ka Nin Chan
Composition Date: 2000
Genre: Staged Vocal Works, Operas, Complete Vocal Score


Instrumentation Set Number 1:
  • 2 x Ethnic plucked strings
  • 1 x Soprano
  • 1 x Alto
  • 2 x Tenor
  • 3 x Baritone
  • 2 x Bass
  • 1 x Men's chorus
  • 1 x Mixed chorus
  • 2 x Ethnic bowed strings
  • 1 x Full orchestra
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Programme Note:
In 1880's China, Lai Gwan, a young impoverished woman, stands on the brink of momentous change. Her dying mother urges the girl to respect and honour the memory of her father, Manli, whose disappearance to the New World haunts them both.
Armed with the hope that she will find her father alive, disguised as a boy, Lai Gwan braves the cruel voyage across the Pacific to work in the land of Gum San, the Golden Mountain.
When they reach Canada's shore, the Chinese railway workers' dreams of a better life collide with the brutal realities of the land, dangerous work and harsh living. At the same moment, they meet the force of another collective dream: the historic laying of the last tracks of the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Iron Road begins as a humble, individual quest and opens into the immigrants' epic struggle for dignity and identity. Within the story, a poignant, forbidden romance takes shape and Iron Road ends on a note of reconciliation and hope.
Iron Road is truly a crossroads - where two vastly different cultures meet and strong characters confront their deepest fears and desires. A creative crucible for the melding of history, myth and cultural styles, Iron Road is a story that brims with universal themes. It is also emblematic of Tapestry's commitment to encourage and develop the brightest Canadian talent.
Credits: Tapestry New Opera Works
Creator: Unknown
Subject: Iron Road
Date Created: 2000


  • Call Number:
  • MV 7110 C454ir
  • Genre:
  • Staged Vocal Works, Operas, Complete Vocal Score
  • Date of Acquisition:
  • February 19, 2007
  • Type:
  • Print-music, Published by CMC
  • Physical Description:
  • 1 score ([456] p.) ;
    456 Pages
    Height: 43 cm
    Piano Reduction: 420 Pages
  • Additional Information:
  • An opera in Two Acts (4 scores)

    Libretto: Mark Brownell
    Translation: George K. Wong
    Music: Chan Ka Nin

    Comissioned by: Canada Council, Ontario Arts Council, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Toronto Arts Council, Laidlaw Foundation, Canada Council for the Arts-Millennium Arts Fund, The Esther Gelber Development Fune, J.P. Pickell Foundation, The Lila Wallace Reader's Digest/ Opera for a New America

    Cast: Lai Gwan, Soprano; Ama, Alto; James Nichol, Tenor; Manli, Bass Baritone; Ah Lum, Tenor or Bass; Ah Charn, Tenor or Bass; Sir John A. MacDonald, Baritone; Donald Smith, High Baritone; Herder, tenor. SATB Chorus, TB Chorus.

    Instrumentation: Flute 1/Dizi, Flute 2/Piccolo, Oboe 1, English Horn, Clarinet in B-flat/A/E-flat, Clarinet 2/Bass clarinet, Bassoon 1, Bassoon 2/Contrabassoon, 4 Horns, 2 Trumpets in C, Trombone 1, Trombone 2/Bass Trombone, Tuba, Erhu/Zhonghu, Guzheng, Yangqin, Percussion (min. 2 players), Harpsichord/Celeste/(Keyboard), Harp, Violin 1&2, Viola, Violoncello, Contra Bass
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Iron Road: Score
(downloadable PDF)
Iron road by Ka Nin Chan (Score)
Printed on demand
Iron road by Ka Nin Chan (Piano Reduction)
Printed on demand
Iron road
Library Loan
Copies of this work are available for loan from: Toronto