Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women Honoured in Chamber Opera MISSING

Missing and Murdered Aboriginal Women Honoured in Chamber Opera MISSINGCity Opera Vancouver with Pacific Opera Victoria presents the world premiere of Missing, a profoundly moving and pivotal opera that sheds new light on a national crisis, November 3,7,9 & 11 at 8pm, and November 5 at 2pm at The York Theatre. Written by distinguished Canadian Métis playwright Marie Clements, with a gripping score by JUNO Award-winning composer Brian Current, this work confronts the immense tragedy of more than 1,200 missing and murdered First Nations, Inuit and Métis women and girls in Canada, and the devastation to communities and families - both First Nations and non-First Nations - left to grapple with their loss.

"With Missing we have the rare opportunity to inform about this crisis in a meaningful and unprecedented way," says Charles Barber, Artistic Director, City Opera Vancouver. "We commissioned Marie Clements to write her first-ever opera libretto to honour the memory of each and every missing and murdered Indigenous woman. The poignant tale she so brilliantly conceived lends itself to opera, as the human voice is a powerful vehicle to draw deep emotion and introspection. It is the story of two women who represent so many - one who survives and one who does not, and it's through their story we find hope and, for some, healing."

"The story of Missing can't answer the questions I've been asking my whole life, but I am hoping it will join other voices who are asking the same questions, telling their stories, and demanding an end to what should be unfathomable," says Marie Clements, Librettist.

Missing is set between Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and BC's notorious Highway 16 - the Highway of Tears, where at least 18 women have vanished or been found murdered since 1969. Told through both English and the First Nations language of Gitxsan (widely spoken in First Nations communities along Highway 16), this chamber opera follows the fate of an Indigenous and non-Indigenous young woman whose lives become tragically intertwined. White girl 'Ava' becomes mysteriously drawn to the language, traditions, and sufferings of the 'unknown Native Girl' with whom she crosses paths, and, thereafter, she finds herself in internal conflict as her community struggles toward reconciliation.

Performing the role of the unnamed First Nations woman will be Métis Canadian coloratura soprano Melody Courage, featured soloist in Vivaldi's Gloria with the National Arts Center Orchestra (2015) who performs regularly with Vancouver Opera, and has worked with opera legends Nico Castel, Judith Forst, and Tracy Dahl, among others. In the role of Ava will be Alberta-born soprano Caitlin Wood, who debuted with Edmonton Opera as Clorinda in 2017's La Cenerentola, and starred as Susanna in Vancouver Opera Festival's Marriage of Figaro (2017). Marion Newman of Kwagiulth and Stó:l? First Nations, and of English, Irish and Scottish ancestry will perform as Indigenous university professor Dr. Wilson. Newman was featured five times as a soloist on CBC's National Aboriginal Achievement Awards.

Additional artists performing Brian Current's dramatic score filled with driving percussion and soaring arias include Rose-Ellen Nichols, a mezzo-soprano of Coast Salish heritage; bass-baritone and a member of Saskatchewan's Moosomin First Nation Clarence Logan; Vancouver-based mezzo-soprano Heather Molloy; and Victoria-based tenor Kaden Fosberg.

Following his work with Canadian Opera Company's 2017 Louis Riel and the opening of the 2017 Shaw Festival, esteemed director Peter Hinton lends his astute vision to Missing. Accompanying the talented ensemble of Missing will be a seven-piece chamber orchestra led by Artistic Director Charles Barber.

The official artistic committee for Missing sought the advice of First Nations women elders who have lost daughters, sisters, mothers, and friends in Canada. This performance is made possible thanks to the integral feedback and participation of many First Nations communities and leaders in Vancouver and across BC.

Missing is produced in the Downtown Eastside/Vancouver by City Opera Vancouver and Pacific Opera Victoria in partnership with Vancouver Moving Theatre/DTES Heart of the City Festival.

About City Opera Vancouver (cityoperavancouver.com):
City Opera Vancouver is a professional company, which commissions, creates, re-discovers and presents chamber opera. City Opera Vancouver was organized in 2006 in tandem with efforts to restore the century-old, 650-seat Pantages Theatre in the Downtown Eastside. The company specializes in small forms, intimate eloquence, Canadian themes and artists, and through music tells bold, vivid and memorable stories that are relevant to our time and people. The company is a registered non-profit society with federal tax status, governed by an elected Board of Directors. City Opera Vancouver is a member of the Community Arts Council of Vancouver, and a Community Partner of the Canadian Music Centre.

About Pacific Opera Victoria (pov.bc.ca):
Pacific Opera Victoria (POV) has earned a reputation as one of Canada's leading opera companies, thanks to its dynamic repertoire choices, its original productions, and its commitment to creating meaningful opportunities for artists and audiences. Founded in 1979, POV has become one of Canada's most exciting arts institutions, with an audience that is, per capita, two to five times that of any other Canadian opera company.

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