at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
Kicking off the season is the world premiere production of The Mute Canary, by 86-year-old contemporary composer Rudolf Komorous, at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts. Based on a 1919 dada play by Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, this ‘dada opera’ is in one-act, featuring three isolated characters with multi-personalities - a despotic baritone, Riquet, (Alexander Dobson) who can only be described as Trumpian in his manic delusions, a soprano Barate (Anne Grimm) who represents the power of love, and a countertenor Ochre, (Daniel Cabena) who is a samurai warrior believed to be the composer Charles Gounod. Ochre is the keeper of the mute canary. In addition to the one-act opera, the concert will feature three additional works by Komorous, his radical minimal composition Olympia (1964) as performed by Christopher Butterfield and Owen Underhill (both former students of Komorous), 23 Poems about Horses for narrator and ensemble based on the T’ang Dynasty poems of Li Po, and Fumon Manga (1987) a Woodwind Quintet. The Mute Canary is an international co-production with NODO, a new opera festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
Turning Point Ensemble will once again present Ensemble contemporain de Montréal (ECM) as they return to Vancouver at the Orpheum Annex with Generation 2018. Every two years since 2000, ECM+ has mounted the Generation project, touring Canada with four prize-winning composers. Sample what the new generation of composers is inventing in the world of large ensemble music. These emerging composers represent various parts of the country and aesthetic points of view, and this year Vancouver-native James O’Callaghan will be one of the featured four along with Sophie Dupuis, Patrick Giguere and Thierry Tidrow.
The Turning Point Ensemble presents fascinating combinations of words and music, and collaborations of writers and composers, with the presentation of a new mini-opera The Old Man and the Sea by Rita Ueda with a libretto by Rod Robertson based on Ernest Hemingway's classic. Also included are the premiere of songs by Owen Underhill and Renée Sarojini Saklikar drawing on the newly published Listening to the Bees, and the performance of rarely heard songs Duet for Duck and Canary and Frogs by the great Mexican composer Silvestre Revueltas. Joining Turning Point Ensemble for this performance will be baritone Willy Miles-Grenzberg and soprano Dory Hayley.
Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
Continuing Turning Point’s special partnership with Canadian/Tajik composer Farangis Nurulla-Khoja, Vancouver audiences will have the opportunity to experience her music in-depth through a portrait concert. It will include the premiere of Phantasmagoria composed for soprano Marie-Annick Béliveau and the Turning Point Ensemble inspired by the novel Blindness by Jose Saramago, and Un Voyageur for solo trombone performed by Turning Point Ensemble's Jeremy Berkman.