An important story of Canadian history and tragedy will be told through an opera written by Stephanie Martin, associate professor of music at York University’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance and Design.
Llandovery Castle, which premieres June 26 and 27 in Toronto, highlights the journey of the Canadian hospital ship Llandovery Castle that was torpedoed in the North Atlantic Ocean in June 1918. The story focuses on 14 nurses from across Canada who served in harrowing circumstances around the First World War.
The opera features music written by Martin and libretto by Paul Ciufo, and will be staged at the Calvin Presbyterian Church in Toronto.
The music of opera is scored for a sonorous classical chamber orchestra and nine singers, and has been described as “a modern flirtation between baroque, classical, traditional and popular genres.” Martin describes this operatic style as “21st century bel canto”, focused on the narrative and expressive power of the human voice.
Martin’s interest in the story began in 2015, when during a rehearsal for another project she noticed a dedication plaque for a Llandovery Castle nurse on the wall of Calvin Presbyterian Church.
Martin was director of Schola Magdalena (a women’s ensemble for chant, medieval and modern polyphony,) conductor emeritus of Pax Christi Chorale; and past director of music at the historic church of Saint Mary Magdalene in Toronto.
For tickets and information visit the Llandovery Castle opera website.