May 2014

Music by Tobin Stokes
Libretto by Margaret Atwood

Pauline is City Opera Vancouver’s second commissioned work. It is based on the life and final days of Canadian writer, poet, and actress Pauline Johnson.

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. Torn by loyalty and ambition, she was the child of a Mohawk chief and a Quaker Englishwoman.

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.

Cast and Creative Team

  • Charles Barber, conductor
  • Norman Armour, director
  • Rose-Ellen Nichols, mezzo-soprano
  • Sarah Vardy, soprano
  • Adam Fisher, tenor
  • John Minágro, bass
  • Cathleen Gingrich, mezzo-soprano
  • Edward Moran, baritone
  • Diane Speirs, soprano
  • Eleonora Higginson, soprano