Terror & Erebus
Terror & Erebus
a chamber opera for six singers and percussion quartet
 
 
 
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Canada 2019

 

Cecilia Livingston, composer

Duncan McFarlane, librettist

 

a chamber opera for six singers and percussion quartet

90 minutes

 

Opera 5

TorQ Percussion Quartet

 
 
 

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With their two ships, HMS Terror and HMS Erebus, Sir John Franklin and his crew left England in 1845 to seek the Northwest Passage through the Canadian Arctic. When their ships became trapped in the ice, Franklin and all his 129 crew were lost. In 2014 and 2016 the shipwrecks were found, exactly where Inuit accounts had described.

This story’s hardship, courage, and terrifying end continue to haunt the imagination. How long can hope endure? What of the crew's friendships? What did they dream of when they slept? What of the evidence of starvation, and of cannibalism? And what of the last man, who, at the very end, was alone?

The opera presents an immersive imaginative journey into the experience of the European explorers. Each performance of the opera will be paired with a presentation from an Inuit arts organization, offering audiences insight into the Indigenous people of the Arctic's oral histories around these events, and the important role of these communities in the recent discoveries of the wrecks. This partnership, currently in development, will encourage audiences to recognize the complexities of this history, and to experience new approaches to arts collaboration in different traditions.

 

TERROR & EREBUS will premiere in 2019 in Canada.

 

 

Cecilia Livingston, composer

With music described as "haunting" and "eerily beautiful" (Tapestry Opera), Canadian composer Cecilia Livingston specializes in music for voice. She is a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Postdoctoral Fellow in Music at King's College London (UK) and was a 2015-2017 Fellow at American Opera Projects in New York.

Winner of the Canadian Music Centre's 2018 Toronto Emerging Composer Award, the 2018 Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes for female opera creators in Canada,  and a winner in the SOCAN Foundation Awards for Young Composers, her music has been heard at Bang On a Can’s Summer Music Festival, Nuit Blanche, the 21C Music Festival, Soundstreams, World Choir Games, on tour with The Bicycle Opera Project, with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Kingston Symphony, and with Toronto’s Thin Edge New Music Collective. An associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre and a National Councillor of the Canadian League of Composers, she holds a doctorate in Composition from the University of Toronto, supervised by Christos Hatzis, where she was awarded the Theodoros Mirkopoulos Fellowship in Composition.

 
 
 photo: Jim Somaz

photo: Jim Somaz

Duncan McFarlane, librettist

Terror & Erebus is Cecilia Livingston's third opera collaboration with Duncan McFarlane, also a 2015-2017 Fellow with American Opera Projects in New York, where he studied with Pulitzer Prize-winning librettist Mark Campbell and Academy Award-winning composer/lyricist Stephen Schwartz. He holds an M.A. in English & Creative Writing from the University of Toronto, where he studied with Guggenheim Fellow and Griffin Award-winning poet A. F. Moritz, and Governor-General’s and Giller Awards-winner André Alexis. 

 
 
 
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Evan Mitchell, music director

One of the most able and imaginative young conductors in Canada, Evan Mitchell has enjoyed three triumphant seasons as Music Director of the Kingston Symphony Association, garnering praise for his programming, approach, and musical results. Equally comfortable in the realm of contemporary music and opera, Mr. Mitchell has premiered over 20 new Canadian works and is a strong advocate for music by Canadian composers. 

 
 
 
 
 

Known for immersive and surprising audience experiences that blur the boundaries and expectations of operatic performance, Opera 5 explores the unknown repertoire of the operatic canon and commissions new works by Canadian composers. 

Founding members of Indie Opera T.O., supported by the National Opera Centre of America, Opera 5 has produced eight main-stage productions and has worked with over 80 artists from across North America. 

The company’s innovative approach to opera has attracted international attention from online and print media such as Maclean’s Magazine, The National Post, The Huffington Post.com, Jezebel.com (Gawker Media), and Toronto's own BlogTO.

Committed to commissioning new works for percussion quartet, TorQ is Canada's premiere percussion ensemble. Renowned for their engaging performances, members Richard Burrows, Adam Campbell, Jamie Drake, and Daniel Morphy are committed to making percussion music accessible to audiences that span generations. Since coming together in 2004, TorQ has released three CDs and has toured extensively across Canada, the US and Alaska. Advocates for music education, TorQ is a frequent educational collaborator with Soundstreams Canada and since 2012 has hosted a week-long percussion intensive  in collaboration with the Lunenburg Academy of Music Performance in Nova Scotia.

TorQ endorses Yamaha Percussion, Innovative Percussion, Dream Cymbals, Black Swamp Percussion and Remo Percussion.

 
 

 

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