Reviewed by Paula Citron
Some of the most interesting productions come out of Native Earth Performing Arts, such as the very ambitious Giiwedin, an Aboriginal opera by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan.
Giiwedin means North Wind, and tells the story of a First Nations woman who lives 200 years, from the building of the railway through native lands, to contemporary times and the birth of her mixed race child.
The creators have chosen baroque music as their metier cunningly mixed with First Nations and European rhythms. The four member ensemble, conducted by Gregory Oh, includes harpsichord, archlute, violin and cello.
Native Canadian mezzo-soprano Marion Newman already has a formidable reputation, and she leads a strong multi-racial cast. Kudos to director Maria Lamont and her creative team for the sense of ritual.
The story is told like an First People’s myth. Animals talk and time has no reality. The bitter truth of the Aboriginal experience is the anchor.
Giiwedin continues at Theatre Passe Muraille until Apr. 24.
Native Earth Performing Arts
Composed by Catherine Magowan and Spy Dénommé-Welch
Libretto by Spy Dénommé-Welch
Conducted by Gregory Oh
Directed by Maria Lamont
Starring Marion Newman with Ryan Allen, James McLennan(Martin Houtman), Neema Bickersteth, Catharin Carew, Jesse Clark, Lawrence Cotton, Nicole Joy-Fraser and Jessica Lloyd.
Theatre Passe Muraille, Apr. 8 to 24, 2010