Shanawdithit, JUNE 2019
Co-commission with Tapestry Opera
Music by Dean Burry | Libretto by Yvette Nolan
Featuring mezzo-soprano Marion Newman as Shanawdithit
Shanawdithit, a new opera project commissioned in partnership with Tapestry Opera, starring Marion Newman in the title role. Opening in May 2019 in Toronto before its St. John’s premiere, the work is centered on the life of Shanawdithit (1801-1829), the last recorded surviving member of the Beothuk Nation in Newfoundland, and the extinction and erasure of her people.
In 1829, Shawnadithit is taken to St. John’s by William Cormack, a self-styled explorer who is fascinated by Shanawdithit’s people. In the last months of her life, she created a series of coded drawings that speak of the loneliness of survival and lost history.
Collaboratively interpreted by Indigenous artists from across Canada, including Aria Evans, Michelle Olson, Jerry Evans, and Lori Blondeau, led by librettist Yvette Nolan and composer and Newfoundlander Dean Burry, these drawings asks us to acknowledge the ways that stories are told, who gets to tell them, and how they are heard.
Shanawdithit is a work unlike anything in opera, and will continue its workshops in St. John’s during OOTA’s 2018 Summer Festival.
Did you know?
All of our productions are available to New Canadians through the Cultural Access Pass. We’re proud to partner with this initiative which allows New Canadians to take in cultural events in their new home free of charge.
"Perhaps it is music that will save the world."