Astrolabe Musik Theatre in partnership with SFU Woodward’s Cultural Programs is bringing the Canadian premiere of UK composer George Benjamin’s chamber opera Into the Little Hill to the stage. The lyric tale told in two parts comes to SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20.
Into the Little Hill is a contemporary re-telling of the classic Pied Piper tale, renowned English composer George Benjamin (Written on Skin ; Lessons in Love and Violence) with libretto by critically acclaimed playwright, Martin Crimp take an unflinching look at our response to the “Other”. In the story, a mysterious stranger rids a town of its rats, then also make its children disappear when his promised payment is withheld. The results make the audience ask, Who do we deem as “rats” in our society? Who gets to decide? What are we willing to do to get rid of them? And what are the consequences when we refuse to “pay the piper” — refuse to accept responsibility for the outcomes of our actions?
All six characters (The Crowd, The Stranger, The Narrator, The Minister, The Minister’s Wife and the Minister’ s Child) are sung by mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson and soprano Heather Pawsey. Hailed as “an outstanding voice” (La Scena Musicale), Chinese-Canadian mezzo-soprano Emma Parkinson is a dynamic artist known for her versatility and musicianship.
Acclaimed for her “stylistic versatility, clarity, range” (Halifax Chronicle Herald) and “gorgeous operatic power” (Vancouver Sun) , Vancouver BC-based soprano Heather Pawsey’s career encompasses opera, oratorio, symphonic, recital, chamber and contemporary music.
The unique orchestration for this production includes bass flute, basset horns, mandolin, and banjo. In a multi-disciplinary staging, Astrolabe’s production incorporates dancers Juolin Lee, Daria Mikhalyluk and Hana Rutka . “It has always been my vision to have dancers as part of this intensely dramatic opera”, says Astrolabe’s Artistic Director Heather Pawsey.
Renowned conductor Leslie Dala (Vancouver Bach Choir, Vancouver Opera) is Music Director, for Into the Little Hill, Idan Cohen of Ne.Sans Opera and Dance, director and choreographer. Lighting design is by Victoria Bell, with costume design by Elena Razlog.
Astrolabe Musik Theatre’s presentation of Into the Little Hill runs at the SFU Goldcorp Centre for the Arts, Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre Friday May 19 and Saturday May 20, 2023. For show details and times visit astrolabemusiktheatre.com Tickets are on sale via Eventbrite now.