Musique 3 Femmes has announced the winners of a new prize honouring emerging Canadian women composers and librettists. The $25,000 Mécénat Musica Prix 3 Femmes Award recognizes all-female creative teams who demonstrate “extraordinary promise in the field of opera creation” with a cash prize as well as performances and workshops of their compositions in cities across the country.
Founded in 2018 by former San Francisco Opera Adler Fellow and COC Ensemble coach Jennifer Szeto, soprano Suzanne Rigden and mezzo-soprano Kristin Hoff, Musique 3 Femmes is a Montreal-based not for profit organization and ensemble which seeks to support and foster female leadership in the field of classical music. The new award is their first project, aimed at addressing the need for better representation of women’s voices in opera creation and direction.
The winners of the inaugural award are:
English Language Work (Tied):
Maria Atallah, composer (ON);
Alice Abracen, librettist (QC)
Kendra Harder, composer (SK);
Michelle Telford, librettist (SK)
Cecilia Livingston, composer (ON);
Monica Pearce, librettist (ON)
French Language Work (Tied):
Margareta Jeric, composer (QC);
Naima Phillips, librettist (QC)
Laurence Jobidon, composer (QC);
Pascale St-Onge, librettist (QC)
Winners were selected by a panel of opera and music professionals, including Michael Mori, (General Director, Tapestry Opera), Luna Pearl Woolf (Composer, Co-founder, Oxingale Productions), Chantal Lambert (Director, Atelier Lyrique Opéra de Montréal), and Matthias Maute (Conductor, Artistic Director, Ensemble Caprice).
The winning composer/librettist duos will work on original opera projects titled as follows:
Atallah and Abracen: The Chair
Synopsis: After her best friend dies in a tragic accident, Melanie returns to school locked in a world of her own thoughts and numb to the well wishes of her peers. The opera explores grief in adolescence, and how we choose to move on from those we’ve lost.
Jobidon and St-Onge: L’hiver attend beaucoup de moi
Synopsis: Two women travel together towards the North under hostile conditions and an impending storm. Strangers to one another, they each carry a mysterious reason for making the harsh journey.
Jeric and Phillips: Suites d’une ville morte
Synopsis: A woman returns to a place where she fell in love. She finds a piano on a heap of rubble. An exploration of the anatomy of a piano, this work examines the interplay of loss and connection in a world where everything can change in a moment.
Livingston and Pearce: Singing Only Softly
Synopsis: Singing Only Softly explores the complex character of Anne Frank, with a libretto inspired by the redacted entries from her famous diary.
Harder and Telford: Book of Faces
Excerpts from the works will be presented at Opera’s Changing Worlds: Education and Artist Training Summit, an educational summit jointly hosted by Opera.ca, Opera McGill, and Opéra de Montréal to discuss young artist training in Canada with a particular emphasis on new works.
Congratulations to all the winners!
Left to right: (Top) Maxime Côté, Self Limited Photography, Terry Lim, Tora Chirila/Tora Photography, Ross Cobb.
(Bottom) Maxime Côté, Firas Atallah and Nevena Jeric, Joseph Taylor, Brittany Deecker Photography, Michelle Telford.