City Opera Vancouver is set to captivate audiences with the Canadian premiere of Missy Mazzoli’s contemporary masterpiece, “Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt,” scheduled to grace the stage from February 29 to March 3, 2024, at the York Theatre.
Isabelle Eberhardt, a name less familiar than her male contemporaries Shackleton or Livingstone, emerges as one of the most adventurous women of her era through this opera. Born in 1877 in Geneva, Switzerland, Eberhardt’s extraordinary life unfolds on stage, narrated through her own journals and brought to life by the brilliant mezzo-soprano Marion Newman, a shining star in Canada’s classical music scene.
Gordon Gerrard, Artistic Director of City Opera Vancouver, emphasizes the importance of shedding light on Eberhardt’s legacy. He notes, “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.”
Eberhardt’s life was a tapestry of unconventional choices and challenges to societal norms. Travelling alone to Algeria at the tender age of 20 after the tragic loss of her family, she donned male attire, embraced Islam, and became part of a Sufi order. Her adventures included traversing the North African desert on horseback, falling in love with an Algerian soldier, surviving an attempted assassination, and ultimately meeting her demise in a desert flash flood at the age of 27.
“Song from the Uproar” made its world premiere in 2012 and has since garnered acclaim for its surreal portrayal of key moments in Eberhardt’s life. Multimedia projections, featuring film, photography, and Eberhardt’s own writings, enrich the narrative, offering a unique and immersive experience for the audience.
Composer Missy Mazzoli’s collaboration with librettist Royce Vavrek has not only given life to Eberhardt’s story but has also led to continued success, including a recent commission from the Metropolitan Opera.
For its Canadian premiere, the role of Isabelle Eberhardt will be expertly portrayed by Marion Newman, a Kwagiulth and Stó:lō First Nations mezzo-soprano, whose previous performances have left audiences in awe. The production, directed by Ann Hodges and conducted by Gordon Gerrard, boasts a talented ensemble, including a five-person chorus, lighting design by Alexandra Caprara, and innovative projections by Wlad Woyno and Katayoon Yousefbigloo.
“Song from the Uproar” promises to be a compelling exploration of an extraordinary life, blending music, visuals, and storytelling to pay homage to a woman who dared to challenge conventions and left an indelible mark on history. To witness this transformative performance, secure your tickets and find more information at City Opera Vancouver’s official website. Don’t miss the chance to be part of this groundbreaking Canadian premiere.