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This season’s Requiem For A Lost Girl, composed by Marcel Bergmann with libretto by Onalea Gilbertson, included writing and additional music by The Kettle Choir and Writers Guild. The chamber musical about homelessness was an amazing success with two sold out performances. The performances are only the beginning of an ongoing relationship with the Kettle Society that seeks to expand access to the arts for their clients.
-Colleen Maybin, VO's Director of Education and Community Engagement
For over 60 years Vancouver Opera has been staging world-class opera and doing our part to make our community a lively and resilient place with opera for all. We believe that music and song possess the capacity to enrich lives and communicate universal human stories, and this is why each year we invest in community engagement projects servicing diverse and often under-privileged communities.
Our latest project Requiem For a Lost Girl, a chamber opera about a girl lost to the streets—is an example of the transformative power of opera, music and partnership. The culmination of a three-year project with the Kettle Society – who opened their doors to our teaching artists and invited them to work alongside residents—resulted in the creation of a new opera, giving voice to their experiences, while at the same time changing lives.
I was homeless for seven years and struggled with addiction. It took a lot of effort to get back into the “mill” and integrate back into society as a functioning adult. Participating in the project has changed my outlook, connected me to a group and improved my health. It's been a 100% better for myself and for everyone else who is involved.
- Geof Milson, member of the Kettle Choir
Requiem for a Lost Girl was a moving combination of lived experience and fine music as well as an opportunity for our Young Artists to interact with and support the community choir in making their stories known.
– Mrs. Ronnie E. Tessler
I was so moved by the compelling stories shared in Requiem for a Lost Girl. It was very gratifying for me to know that my contribution helped fund such a powerful and life-changing project.
– Dr. Heather Clarke
As a former social worker in the downtown East side I knew that an opera of this nature could be empowering and I was honoured to be able to support this concept. In conversation with some of the participants at the Opening Night , they told me how truly transformative this participation had been for them. I highly encourage the support of Young Artists of the Opera to continue this kind of community involvement. It can change people’s lives.
– Ms. Shirley Barnett