Kicking off the season is the world premiere production of The Mute Canary, by 86-year-old contemporary composer Rudolf Komorous, at the Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts.
Based on a 1919 dada play by Georges Ribemont-Dessaignes, this ‘dada opera’ is in one-act, featuring three isolated characters with multi-personalities – a despotic baritone, Riquet, (Alexander Dobson) who can only be described as Trumpian in his manic delusions, a soprano Barate (Anne Grimm) who represents the power of love, and a countertenor Ochre, (Daniel Cabena) who is a samurai warrior believed to be the composer Charles Gounod.
Ochre is the keeper of the mute canary. In addition to the one-act opera, the concert will feature three additional works by Komorous, his radical minimal composition Olympia (1964) as performed by Christopher Butterfield and Owen Underhill (both former students of Komorous), 23 Poems about Horses for narrator and ensemble based on the T’ang Dynasty poems of Li Po, and Fumon Manga (1987) a Woodwind Quintet. The Mute Canary is an international co-production with NODO, a new opera festival in Ostrava, Czech Republic.