World premiere co-commissioned with Opera on the Avalon
Music by Dean Burry | Libretto by Yvette Nolan
Featuring: Marion Newman as Shanawdithit
A new opera centred on the story of Shanawdithit (1801-1829), the last recorded surviving member of the Beothuk Nation in Newfoundland. In 1829, Shanawdithit is taken in by William Cormack, a self-styled explorer who is fascinated by Shanawdithit’s people. In the last months of her life, she created a series of coded drawings that speak of the loneliness of survival and lost history. Collaboratively interpreted by Indigenous artists from across Canada, including Aria Evans, Michelle Olson, Jerry Evans, and Lori Blondeau, led by librettist Yvette Nolan and composer and Newfoundlander Dean Burry, these drawings ask us to acknowledge the ways that stories are told, who gets to tell them, and how they are heard. Shanawdithit is a work unlike anything in opera.