Old Sock Drawer

a story to tell, a novel you keep in a drawer

Old Sock Drawer header image 2

#097: Louis Riel @ The Chan Centre

February 6th, 2010 by Mary Leong

Currently listening to: Cameron Golinsky’s rendition of “Mad World” (kid is brilliant)

Louis Riel

(click on picture for UBC Opera’s Facebook page)

Last evening, I was lucky enough to score a complimentary ticket to UBC Opera’s Western Canada premiere of the Confederation-era historical opera, Louis Riel. Far from being what one usually expects from a traditional opera (à la Mozart/Puccini/Verdi), Louis Riel draws heavily from postmodern influences (think Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring) and is further embellished by the colourful tones of traditional French, Scottish, English, and First Nations musical influences. With a libretto written in English, French, and Cree, the discordant melodies sung in different languages reflects the English Protestant-French Catholic clash during a particularly tumultuous period in Canadian history. As a history geek, I was quite pleasantly surprised by how accurate it was – and how potentially controversial this opera can be. Bringing up some of the darker sides of Canadian history, it forces audiences to consider the bigotry prevalent in both sides in their respective striving for autonomy.  The cast is sublime, and the chorus is energetic in its rousing renditions of battle rallies. You may not walk out of the theatre humming its atonal melodies, but you will leave slightly unsettled, ponderous, and indeed, rather impressed with all the technical aspects of the production.

Louis Riel plays Saturday (Feb 6) at 8 pm, and Sunday (Feb 7) at 2 pm.

Tags:   · No Comments