A New Opera by Margaret Atwood and Tobin Stokes
City Opera Vancouver announces Pauline, a chamber opera based on the life and final days of Canadian writer, poet, and actress Pauline Johnson. The music for Pauline will be written by Tobin Stokes, and the libretto by Margaret Atwood.
Pauline Johnson (1861-1913) traveled across Canada, the United States and Great Britain giving readings of her own work when such independence was rare and remarkable. She was the child of a Mohawk chief and a Quaker Englishwoman, and torn by loyalty and ambition. Pauline lived her last years in Vancouver and died a terrible death of breast cancer, treated by crude surgery and morphine.
Pauline is set at Vancouver in March 1913. Haunted by failure, torn by her dual identity as both Mohawk and white, Pauline Johnson fights to confront her past before the end, as her doctor tries to control the pain and her sister tries to control the story that will be told.
Margaret Atwood is one of the world’s leading authors. Pauline was conceived by Ms. Atwood, and will be her first opera.
Tobin Stokes is one of Canada’s most distinguished composers. His work is widely published, recorded and performed, and has earned numerous prizes. Pauline will be his fifth opera.
Pauline is the second commission made by City Opera Vancouver. It will be directed by Norman Armour.
We gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Tom Lee Music, Steinway & Sons, the late Prof Abraham Rogatnick, Accent Inns, Georgina M Brunette, Margaret E Prang, the Audain Foundation, the estate of Kitty Heller, the McLean Foundation of Toronto, and a generous music workshop grant from the City of Vancouver.