Unprecedented: New Canadian Opera, with First Act in Ukrainian
Canadian opera lovers, especially those of Ukrainian background, are about to get treated to something truly special: a new opera based on a real contemporary issue. Moreover, the opera’s first act is sung in Ukrainian. For their opera, Oksana G., San Francisco-based and Canadian-born composer Aaron Gervais and Canadian playwright Colleen Murphy picked the theme of sex trafficking, the industry that has wreaked havoc on so many Ukrainian women’s lives.
And who could better personify a Ukrainian girl, who finds herself in the deadly midst of this industry, than a Ukrainian who herself witnessed the problem unfold in her home country in the 1990s. Ukrainian-born soprano Natalya Gennadi’s name even bears resemblance to the main character’s name. Although, as all the newcomers from Ukraine would know, Natalya’s stage surname is actually her abridged patronymic name (Gennadiivna), which was recorded as her “second” name by the immigration officer at the point of entry to Canada, but we digress.