The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G.

Last night saw the first of two workshop performances of Act 2 of The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G., a new full scale opera with music by Aaron Gervais and libretto by Colleen Murphy.  Act 1 was similarly workshopped last year.  It’s being produced by Tapestry New Opera in the Ernest Balmer Studio at The Distillery.  The second performance is tonight.

The piece is about sex trafficking.  Oksana is a Ukrainian girl tricked, raped and forced into an Italian  brothel controlled by Russian organized crime.  At the beginning of Act 2 she has escaped and is living at a refugee shelter run by a Canadian priest in Brindisi.  The story concerns her relationship with the priest, her desire to return to her family and her pimp’s determination to get his hands on her again.  It’s dramatic, emotionally charged and ends badly.  It’s neither overly melodramatic nor crushingly intellectual and it works very well as an opera libretto.  Somewhat oddly it’s written in four languages; English, Italian, Russian and Ukrainian, apparently for essentially “naturalistic” reasons.  I think the logic is off but it didn’t reduce my enjoyment of the piece. Continue reading

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Big contemporary opera weekend in Toronto

Considering the opera season in Toronto usually pretty much wraps up in May there’s a lot on over the next few days.  I guess the big ticket Is Philip Glass’ Einstein on the Beach which is running tonight, tomorrow night and Sunday afternoon/evening.  Unfortunately it’s extremely long and I have early reffing gigs both Saturday and Sunday so that pretty much rules it out.  It’s also at one of my least favourite performance spaces; the Sony Centre.  Also on this weekend is the Canadian Children’s Opera Company performance of a new work by Errol Gay called Laura’s Cow. based on events in the War of 1812  That’s on at the Enwave and I managed to score a couple of comps so I shall be going to that.  Then on Monday and Tuesday evenings Tapestry New Opera are workshopping Aaron Gervais’ The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G. at the Distillery.  Most all opera in Toronto happens within walking distance of the Kitten Kondo but that one is scarcely five minutes away.  The lemur is rehearsing so I’ll be on my own at that one. Busy times!