In July 2020, Laura Kaminsky and Lisa Moore began workshops for the contemporary Newfoundland opera, February, based on Moore’s novel of the same name. February is a powerful portrayal of the sinking of the Ocean Ranger off the coast of Newfoundland on Valentine’s Day, 1982. Shifting between the past and present, it tells the story of the fictional Helen O’Mara, who lost her husband in the disaster. February explores the loneliness of grief and the importance of reconciliation with the past.
Moore is regarded as one of Canada’s most influential contemporary writers. Her work is emotional, poignant, and offers an authentic perspective of Newfoundland and its people. She is a short-storyist, novelist, playwright, visual artist, and Assistant Professor at Memorial University.
“I am thrilled to be adapting my novel February for the stage as an opera with Laura Kaminsky and Opera on the Avalon. Laura’s music is charged, sensitive, sometimes elegiac, sometimes momentous and sublime – as with the rising and falling of waves on a tumultuous sea. It is exquisite in its build of finely calibrated emotion. I am thrilled to imagine this story being sung, being played, being music. I am grateful to Opera on the Avalon for giving me the gift of being able to work with Laura, and everyone at the company who are experts at their craft” said Moore.
Laura Kaminsky is an American composer, who’s chamber, vocal, and piano works have been performed around the world. She is cited in The Washington Post as “one of the top 35 female composers in classical music.”
“As soon as I opened the novel February and read the opening pages, ‘Sunrise or Sunset, November 2008’ I was hooked and immediately heard it in my mind’s eye as something to be adapted for the operatic stage. Drawn in by Moore’s powerful language, within a few paragraphs, I felt as if I knew Helen, and wanted only to know her more. Moore created a glorious, albeit grief-filled, journey through Helen’s life and that of her family members, in the lead up to and the aftermath of the Ocean Ranger tragedy. The images of the place that Moore painted with her eloquent prose and the philosophical and emotional insights she brought to light in the rendering of the characters were mesmerizing and ever so beautiful” said Kaminsky.
OOTA’s world premiere date for its new opera February is June 2023 in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.