City Opera Vancouver Presents Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt

Comments 10 by Rebecca Bollwitt

City Opera Vancouver presents the Canadian premiere of composer Missy Mazzoli’s contemporary masterpiece Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt – and you can enter to win tickets. One of the most adventurous women of her era, the opera tells the extraordinary life story of the complex, multifaceted Eberhardt, using her own journals as a basis for its libretto. 

Song from the Uproar- Isabelle Eberhardt by Estella Lum
Song from the Uproar- Isabelle Eberhardt by Estella Lum

Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt

  • Dates: February 29 & March 2 at 7:30pm; March 3, 2024 at 2:00pm
  • Location: York Theatre (639 Commercial Drive. Vancouver)
  • Tickets: Available online now from $25 to $68

“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, 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.”

Isabelle Eberhardt was born in 1877 in Geneva, Switzerland. At age 20, after the death of her father, mother and brother in quick succession, she travelled alone to Algeria. She dressed as a man, converted to Islam and 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. Over the course of her life, she would court controversy by challenging gender norms, earning the enmity of governments, and becoming an early outspoken anticolonial voice.

Song from the Uproar enjoyed its world premiere in February 2012 by New York’s Beth Morrison Theatre Projects. Through a series of surreal vignettes, the audience witnesses key moments in Eberhardt’s life; from the death of her family, through her journeys in the North African desert, to her ecstatic religious conversion, and ultimately to her tragic drowning. Essential to the work are multimedia projections that amplify and enrich her life story using film and photography, as well as writing from Eberhardt herself.

The score was the first ever opera written by celebrated Brooklyn composer Missy Mazzoli, who collaborated with Canadian Royce Vavrek on the work’s libretto. The success of the piece led the duo to continued collaboration, including a recent commission from Metropolitan Opera to adapt the Man Booker Prize winning novel Lincoln in the Bardo for the esteemed company’s upcoming 2026 season.

Enter to Win

City Opera Vancouver / Song from the Uproar: The Lives and Deaths of Isabelle Eberhardt

For its Canadian premiere, the role of Isabelle 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 amazed City Opera Vancouver audiences in the role of Dr. Wilson in 2017’s Missing. The work is directed by acclaimed theatre practitioner Ann Hodges, under the baton of City Opera Vancouver Artistic Director Gordon Gerrard. Newman will be supported by a five-person chorus: Katie Fraser, Christina Demeo, Emma Jang, Kiho Sohn, and Jason Sommerville. Lighting design by Alexandra Caprara, with projections by Wlad Woyno, and co-design of projections and sets by Katayoon Yousefbigloo. Costumes by Alaia Hamer and choreography by Livona Ellis.

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10 Comments  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. ZhanWednesday, February 21st, 2024 — 1:37pm PST

    This would be a great opera experience. Thanks.

  2. Eileen JohnstonWednesday, February 21st, 2024 — 7:37pm PST

    The City Opera Vancouver rendition of Eberhart sounds like an intriguing, quality production.

  3. Shelley ButcherWednesday, February 21st, 2024 — 8:19pm PST

    This show sounds wonderful.

  4. Stephen MWednesday, February 21st, 2024 — 9:37pm PST

    It would be a privilege to attend this opera and learn more about the mysterious past.

  5. Ray CThursday, February 22nd, 2024 — 6:54am PST

    Opera+York=terrific evening

  6. EileenThursday, February 22nd, 2024 — 2:32pm PST

    I’d love to attend!

  7. Jason BThursday, February 22nd, 2024 — 8:15pm PST


  8. KarenThursday, February 22nd, 2024 — 8:47pm PST

    This would be an amazing performance. I’d love to attend.

  9. Catherine HercusMonday, February 26th, 2024 — 10:24am PST

    Would love to attend

  10. NeleSunday, March 17th, 2024 — 10:44am PDT

    I’ve attended a few of the free opera @ vpl events, but would be amazing to actually go see an entire opera!

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