Monday, December 28, 2009

Going the Distance for Lillian Alling

Photo by Tim Matheson

Continuing the John Estacio/John Murrell props and excitement on VO's upcoming new opera, Lillian Alling, the Globe and Mail's Marsha Lederman reports on the Lillian Alling run-through that took place right before the holiday break.

Lillian Alling , the first full-length piece Vancouver Opera has ever commissioned for its main stage, will have its world premiere next fall, but about 50 VO donors, staff and colleagues got a preview earlier this month. The first run-through of the opera, by a dozen singers, followed an intensive two-year workshopping process.

The opera, written by Estacio and Murrell, is based on the real-life story of Lillian Alling, a Russian immigrant who arrived in New York in the 1920s and proceeded to walk across the continent to British Columbia. While some details are known about Alling, who has become a part of B.C. lore (and who was the subject of Amy Bloom's 2007 best-selling novel Away ), what isn't known is why she embarked on this journey. So Murrell, the librettist, and Estacio, the composer, had a lot of holes to fill. They built what they felt was an opera-worthy story around the character, with elements of passion, tragedy and surprise.

To read more on VO's brand new opera in the works, click here.