E Pauline Johnson Opera


Sunday, March 16th, 2008 — 4:48pm PDT
Comments 4

Our good friend Henry, who spends time all across the world but is still nice enough to send del.icio.us links our way for blogging purposes, sent along a this information.

A new Canadian chamber opera based on the life of the late writer, poet and actress Pauline Johnson will have its world premiere in Vancouver in two years….

Pauline was written by Margaret Atwood with music composed by Christos Hatzis. It is the first commission ever undertaken by City Opera Vancouver, which announced the project in Vancouver on Tuesday… [CBC]

This sparked my interest not only because it involves one of Canada’s most esteemed novelists and poets (two of them really), but also because I was recently reminded of the work of Pauline Johnson.

Pauline deals with questions of dualism. Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) was a woman ahead of her time, traveling across Canada, the United States and Great Britain giving readings of her own work in an era when such female independence was rare and remarkable. She was the child of a Mohawk chief and a Quaker Englishwoman, always torn by loyalty and ambition. She was a popular stage figure who was in private deeply insecure.[CityOperaVancouver]

Pauline passed away in 1913 after a battle with breast cancer, and her ashes are scattered at Stanley Park. I have yet to check out the monument in her honor, but I have avoided some of the places in the park she spoke of in some spooky legends.

City Opera Vancouver hopes to stage the world premiere in the 100-year-old Pantages Theatre in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside during January or February 2010. Plans are in the works to renovate the now-derelict theatre. [CBC]

Side note about the Pantages Theatre, during its heyday it hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth. Also, a nephew of the original Mr Pantages, Peter Pantages, took over the theatre in the 1920s and also founded Vancouver’s Polar Bear Club.

I haven’t been to the opera since I saw La Boheme in high school, but I’m definitely interested to see how Pauline’s prose, adapted for music by Margaret Atwood, will play out in one of Vancouver’s more historical venues come 2010.

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4 comments

  1. Charles says:

    Thanks for the blog blurb! Hope to see you there, in two years…

    Best,

    Charles

  2. fotoeins says:

    Of course, you’re welcome! 🙂

    When we were kids, I remembered seeing HK movies at the Sun Sing Theatre (Pantages). We also saw movies at the Golden Harvest Theater on Main (1/2 block north of E. Hastings), and at the Shaw on E. Hastings (1/2 block east of Main). I am very curious to see how the renovation will occur, and how the city & federal money associated with the Winter Olympics intend to clean up the corner of (and blocks surrounding “Pain & Wastings”.

  3. […] “The Pantages Theatre, during its heyday it hosted stars like Charlie Chaplin, Jack Dempsey and Babe Ruth. Also, a nephew of the original Mr Pantages, Peter Pantages, took over the theatre in the 1920s and also founded Vancouver’s Polar Bear Club. [Miss604]” […]

  4. […] been a few years now since I discovered the work of Pauline Johnson and I’ve been enchanted by her writing […]

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