The Wild Rose Opera Project Composers
The composers of the Wild Rose Opera Project Bryce Kulak, Ian Cusson, Vivian Fung and John Estacio. Photo: Courtesy Edmonton Opera; John Arano; Geneviève Caron; Wade Kelly

Edmonton Opera is set to create four short works focused on issues in mental health in an Albertan inspired collection called The Wild Rose Opera Project.

Made possible by EPCOR’s Heart + Soul Fund, four composers will be working alongside Pulitzer Prize winning librettist Royce Vavrek to create the operas.

Royce Vavrek, The Wild Rose Opera Project
Pulitzer Prize winning librettist Royce Vavrek who is leading the team for The Wild Rose Opera Project. Photo: Ricardo Beas
“We created the Heart + Soul Fund because the arts are vital in connecting us through unique experiences and, although we can’t gather in person, the show must go on,” says Jennifer Addison, Senior Vice President, General Counsel & Corporate Secretary, EPCOR. “This project and its focus on raising greater awareness and reducing stigma around mental illness is so important every day, and especially during these times. We are proud to join the Edmonton Opera in bringing it to life.”
Composer Ian Cusson will be working with the team to create a micro-adaption of Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation. The follows the story of an Indigenous couple’s Prague vacation as the protagonist tackles depression and despair.
Thomas King, Indians on Vacation
Thomas King, author of Indians on Vacation which is to be adapted for The Wild Rose Opera Project. Photo: Trina Koster
John Estacio will be composing the story about a a gay farmer battling depression who finds comfort in his farm dog as he comes to terms with his identity.
Delving into PTSD, composer Vivian Fung will be exploring the story of a family dealing with the inherited trauma of genocide. The opera will focus on a young woman who is looking for answers about their family, while older members try to hide the truth from her.
Finally, composer Bryce Kulak will be telling the story of a woman who visits the Badlands and remembers childhood memories of her mother who is now suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease.
The Wild Rose Opera Project is going to be filmed for online streaming later in 2021, while casting for each of the short operas will be announced in the coming months.

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