Placeholder canvas
Friday, April 12, 2024

City Opera Vancouver celebrates early feminist icon Isabelle Eberhardt

Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt plays at the York Theatre in East Vancouver on February 29 and March 2 & 3.

City Opera Vancouver will present the Canadian premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s contemporary opera, Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt, the story of the extraordinary life of one of the most adventurous women of her era.

Librettists Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek have done great justice in bringing awareness to Eberhardt, and City Opera could not be more honoured to be the first company in Canada to share it. – Gordon Gerrard

Born in 1877 in Geneva, Switzerland, at age 20, Eberhardt travelled alone to Algeria after the death of her father, mother and brother in quick succession. She dressed as a man, converted to Islam, joined a Sufi order, roamed the desert on horseback and fell in love with an Algerian soldier. After surviving an attempted assassination and a failed suicide pact with her lover, Eberhardt drowned in a desert flash flood at age 27. Throughout her life, she would court controversy by challenging gender norms, earning the enmity of governments, and becoming an early outspoken anti-colonial voice.

Using Eberhardt’s journals as a basis for its libretto, Brooklyn composer Missy Mazzoli, with help from Canadian Royce Vavrek, uses a series of vignettes to portray key moments in Eberhardt’s life. The work is amplified by multimedia projections using film and photography and Ebherhardt’s own words.

“Eberhardt lived during an age of adventure. And yet, her name is much less familiar than contemporaneous male explorers such as Shackleton or Livingstone. In fact, for much of her writing and travels, she had to do so in the guise of a man,” says Gordon Gerrard, artistic director of City Opera Vancouver. “To be forgotten in such a way is a disservice to this remarkable figure, who not only left a legacy of daring tales but also profound, powerful insights in her writing. Librettists Missy Mazzoli and Royce Vavrek have done great justice in bringing awareness to Eberhardt, and City Opera could not be more honoured to be the first company in Canada to share it.”

The role of Eberhardt will be played by Marion Newman, a Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations mezzo-soprano with English, Irish and Scottish heritage who most recently appeared in the role of Dr. Wilson in City Oper Vancouver’s 2017 production of Missing. Newman will be supported by a five-person chorus of Katie Fraser, Christina Demeo, Emma Jang, Kiho Sohn, and Jason Sommerville.

City Opera Vancouver presents Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt on February 29, March 2 & 3 at the York Theatre (639 Commercial Dr, Vancouver). Visit cityoperavancouver.com for tickets and information.

Join the Discussion

Follow Us on Social Media

Advertisement

Latest Articles