Audience Reactions

Scenes from Dark Sisters

Interview with Conductor Kinza Tyrrell

Dark Sisters Cast Interview

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Dark Sisters



For current VO productions, visit our What's On page


By Nico Muhly | Libretto by Stephen Karam
In English with SURTITLES ™ projected above the stage
Canadian premiere! New production!

“Most impressive of all was conductor Kinza Tyrrell’s confident mastery of the score, maintaining an impressively tight ensemble while modulating the orchestral sound from rich chords to the sparest of celesta arpeggios.” - Bachtrack

“Vancouver Opera’s production has the finesse and talent to make it a triumph" - Lords of Dogwood

“Moments of true delight and wonder” - Georgia Straight

"Graced with beguiling projections by Jamie Nesbitt" - Vancouver Sun

Approximate Running Time: 2 hours, including 1 intermission.

In a renegade Mormon community of the American southwest, brave Eliza attempts to escape her life as one of five “sister wives” in a polygamous marriage and save her daughter from the same fate. The women’s children have been removed by state authorities and their husband, known as the Prophet, has retreated to the desert, seeking divine guidance. In desperation, the women subject themselves to the glare of the media. While the world watches on television, Eliza bares her heart, unleashes her condemnation of the community's patriarchy, and pleads with her sister wives to break free.

Composer Nico Muhly is one of the hottest young composers in North America. He has written choral works, large and small orchestral pieces, and three film scores, includingJoshua and the Oscar-nominated The Reader. After the success of Dark Sisters in New York and Philadelphia in 2011 and 2012, his opera Two Boys had its Metropolitan Opera début. His Dark Sisters score is lyrical, evocative and spare, highlighting the women’s voices and revealing their fervency and suffering. 

Conducted by Kinza Tyrrell | Directed by Amiel Gladstone

Listen to Audio


Almera expresses to doubting Eliza her fervent belief that she and their sister wives are God’s “chosen ones” and will be rewarded with eternal life, as celestial queens. They must only wait, and be obedient to their husband. Excerpt courtesy Pittsburgh Opera.


Alone under a starry sky, Eliza remembers her wedding to a much older man, the Prophet, when she was a frightened teenager. She prays, and asks God whether He was listening to her back then. Excerpt courtesy Pittsburgh Opera.


Audio excerpts from Opera Speaks @ VPL: Polygamy vs. the State

Lawyer Micheal Vonn, Policy Director at BC Civil Liberties Association, describes the 2009-2011 B.C. Supreme Court reference on the constitutionality of the Criminal Code section that prohibits polygamy.

At the Supreme Court of BC reference, lawyer Janet Winteringham acted as counsel for West Coast LEAF, an organization that advances women’s equality through the law. Here she explains their support for the Criminal Code provision so far as it prohibits exploitative polygamy.


Cast and Creative Team

Conducted by Kinza Tyrrell


Victoria, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Assistant Conductor / Chorus Director / Principal Répétiteur, Madama Butterfly, 2016

Recent Appearances:
Conductor, Dark Sisters with Vancouver Opera
Visiting Master Teacher with Calgary Opera’s Emerging Artist Development Program
Music Director, Stickboy with Vancouver Opera In Schools
Principal Répétiteur / Assistant Chorus Director, Rigoletto with Vancouver Opera

Upcoming Engagements:
Lincoln Trio concert @Silk Purse
German Diction Coach / Assistant Conductor at Opera Kelowna
CD recording for Ukrainian Art Song Project at CBC Toronto

Dr. Tyrrell is the Head Coach of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program and guest faculty at the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Nuova and Opera Kelowna.

Directed by Amiel Gladstone

Amiel Gladstone
Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Director, Lucia di Lammermoor, 2010

Recent Appearances:
Are We Cool Now? with Western Canada Theatre / The Cultch
Canadian tour, Do you want what I have got? A craigslist cantata
East Van Panto with the Cultch / Theatre Replacement
Tosca with Pacific Opera Victoria
Hansel & Gretel with Vancouver Opera In Schools

Upcoming Engagements:
Onegin with the Arts Club Theatre Company

More about Amiel Gladstone

Zina Eve-Lyn de la Haye

Eve-Lyn de la Haye

Victoria, BC

Vancouver Opera Début

Recent Appearances:
Yum Yum in The Mikado with Calgary Opera
Soloist in Elijah with the Vancouver Bach Choir and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Pacifi c Opera Victoria
Nannetta in Falstaff with Calgary Opera

Presendia Heather Pawsey

Heather Pawsey

Regina, SK

Last VO Appearance:
Secretary, Teacher (Act II), Principal (Act III) in Stickboy, 2014

Recent Appearances:
Susan Allison in The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk with Astrolabe Musik Theatre / Turning Point Ensemble
Guest Artist for A Kuroshio Breeze: Chamber Music for Voice & Japanese Instruments with the Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra
Soloist for Symphony No. 9 (Beethoven) with the New Westminster Symphony Orchestra
Soloist for Amen with Yarilo Music
Artist-in-Residence for Art Song Lab

Upcoming Engagements:
Ono no Komachi in Kayoi Komachi with Tomoe Arts
Involuntary Love Songs concerts with Cordei Duo
Music Con-Text with Turning Point Ensemble

More about Heather Pawsey

Almera Karen Ydenberg

Karen Ydenberg

Langley, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Beggar Woman in Sweeney Todd, 2015

Recent Appearances:
Echo in Ariadne auf Naxos with Vancouver Opera
First Lady in The Magic Flute with Vancouver Opera
Mrs. Segstrom in A Little Night Music with The Vancouver Playhouse Theatre Company
Carol/Ruby in Off Leash with Fugue Theatre

Upcoming Engagements:
Madama Butterfly and Evita with Vancouver Opera

Ruth Megan Latham

Megan Latham


Abbotsford, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Grandmother in Stickboy, 2014

Recent Appearances:
Soloist, Messiah with Victoria Symphony
Genevieve in Pelléas et Mélisande with Against the Grain Theatre
Mère Jeanne in Les dialogues des Carmelites with the Canadian Opera Company
Rossweisse in Die walküre with the Canadian Opera Company
Alisa in Lucia di Lammermoor with Edmonton Opera

Upcoming Engagements:
Erda (cover) in Siegfried with the Canadian Opera Company
Marcellina in The Marriage of Figaro with the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio

Eliza Melanie Krueger

Melanie Krueger

Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Valedictorian in Stickboy, 2014

Recent Appearances:
The Celestial Voice in Don Carlo with Vancouver Opera
Sharon in Master Class with the Arts Club Theatre Company
Miss Wordsworth in Albert Herring with Vancouver Opera
Lillian Alling with The Banff Centre
Soloist, Requiem (Mozart) with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra

Upcoming Engagements:
Messiah with The Handel Society

More about Melanie Krueger

Prophet Thomas Goerz

Thomas Goerz

Kitchener, ON 
The Prophet / Larry King

Last VO Appearance: 
Zuniga in Carmen, 2014

Recent Appearances:
Father Palmer in Silent Night with Opéra de Montréal
The Mikado with Calgary Opera
Dr. Bartolo in Le nozze di Figaro with Pacific Opera Victoria
Ol’ Man Carnes in Oklahoma! with Central City Opera
Don Basilio in The Barber of Seville with Edmonton Opera
Baron Douphol in La traviata with the Canadian Opera Company

More about Thomas Goerz

Lucinda Eden Tremayne *

Eden Tremayne

Langley, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Countess Ceprano / Page / Gilda Understudy in Rigoletto, 2015

Recent Appearances:
The Four Note Opera with Vancouver Opera's Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program
Susanna in Le nozze di Figaro, with Vivave!
Antonia in Les contes d’Hoffmann with UBC Opera
Gianetta in L’elisir d’amore with Opera NUOVA

Upcoming Engagements:
Kate Pinkerton in Madama Butterfly with Vancouver Opera

Assistant Conductor Tina Chang

Tina Chang
Musical Preparation

Vancouver, BC

Last VO Apperance:
Musical Preparation, Madama Butterfly, 2016

Recent Appearances:
Vancouver Island Recital Tour with mezzo-soprano Barbara Towell
Assistant Conductor & Principal Répétiteur, Dark Sisters
Répétiteur, Rigoletto

Upcoming Engagements:
Pianist & Coach with UBC Summer Vocal Workshop
Répétiteur, Herculanum with Wexford Festival Opera
Répétiteur, Il Campanello with Wexford Festival Opera

Set Designer Pam Johnson

Pam Johnson
Set Designer
Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Salome, 2015

Recent Appearances:
Empire of the Son with Vancouver Asian Canadian Theatre
Vanessa, Regina, Don Giovanni, Macbeth, La traviata, Die Fledermaus, Romeo and Juliet, Madama Butterfly, Pirates of Penzance with Pacific Opera Victoria
La Cenerentola with Calgary Opera

Upcoming Engagements:
The Valley with The Belfry Theatre, Victoria
Set design instructor at Studio 58, Langara College
The Merry Wives of Windsor and Romeo and Juliet for Bard on the Beach

Costume Designer Parvin Mirhady

Parvin Mirhady
Costume Designer
Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Costume Designer, The Barber of Seville, 2012

Recent Projects:
Costume Designer for Vancouver Opera’s Principal Singers, 2003– 2011
Designer, Owner/Operator of Puffin
Costume Construction in BC Film Industry

Ms. Mirhady is the Head of the Vancouver Opera Costume Shop and Costume Design Consultant.

Lighting Designer Gerald King

Gerald King
Lighting Designer

Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Lighting Designer, Dark Sisters 2015

Recent Appearances:
Die Fledermaus with Vancouver Opera
Faerie Queen with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet
Les Misérables with Western Canada Theatre
Anne of Green Gables: The Musical with Theatre Calgary
Spamalot with the Arts Club Theatre Company
King Lear and The Comedy of Errors with Bard on The Beach
Don Carlo with Vancouver Opera

Upcoming Engagements:
Crazy for You with The Citadel Theatre
Otello and Dead Man Walking with Vancouver Opera

Projection Designer Jamie Nesbitt

Jamie Nesbitt

Projection Designer
Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Projection Designer, Dark Sisters, 2015

Recent Appearances:
The Valley with the Arts Club Theatre Company
Evangeline with the Citadel Theatre, Edmonton
Otello with Pacific Opera Victoria
Calamity Town with Vertigo Theatre

Upcoming Engagements:
The Big Sleep with Vertigo Theatre
Salamanda with Jump Current

Learn more about Jamie Nesbitt

Wig Designer Stacey Butterworth

Stacey Butterworth
Wig Designer

Vancouver, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Rigoletto, 2015

Recent Appearances:
Die Fledermaus and Sweeney Todd with Vancouver Opera, 2015
Wig Design and Construction for Bard on the Beach Shakespeare Festival
Wig Design and Construction for Reign television series, Toronto
Wigmaker for Jennifer Lawrence in American Hustle feature film

Upcoming Engagements:
Wigmaker for Jennifer Lawrence and Virginia Madsen in Joy feature film
Wigmaker for Warcraft and The Revenant feature films
Wigmaker for John Travolta in Life on the Line feature film

Ms. Butterworth has been Wig Designer at Vancouver Opera since 1995. Stacey Butterworth Wig Creations is one of the top suppliers of custom made wigs in North America, supplying film, television, theatre and opera.

Associate Wig Designer Susan Manning


Cloverdale, BC

Last VO Appearance:
Associate Wig Designer, Madama Butterfly, 2016

Recent Appearances:
Associate Wig Designer, Dark Sisters with Vancouver Opera
Assistant Wig Designer, Rigoletto with Vancouver Opera
Wigmaker with Stacey Butterworth Wig Creations
Make-Up Artist with Make-up Creations
Little Mermaid

Stage Manager Melissa Rood

Melissa Rood
Stage Manager
Richmond Hill, ON

Last VO Appearance:
Stickboy, 2014

Recent Appearances:
The Last Wife (World Premiere) and The Diary of Anne Frank with the Stratford Festival
HER2 (World Premiere) with Nightwood Theatre and Buddies in Bad Times Theatre
Christopher Plummer’s A Word or Two at the Ahmanson Theatre, Los Angeles

Upcoming Engagements:
The Hound of the Baskervilles with Globe Theatre, Regina
Shakespeare in Love and The Aeneid at the Stratford Festival
Research assistant, development of dance therapy for youth-atrisk.

Ms. Rood is pleased to be joined by Assistant Stage Manager Melania Radelicki.

Assistant Director Brenna Corner *

Brenna Corner
Assistant Director

High River, AB

Last VO Appearance:
Assistant Director, Dark Sisters, 2015

Recent Appearances:
Assistant Director, Rigoletto, 2015
Director, The Four Note Opera and Le Docteur Miracle with Vancouver Opera’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program
Director, Cendrillon and La clemenza di Tito with Manitoba Underground Opera
Director, Béatrice et Bénédict with Fraser Lyric Opera

Upcoming Engagements:
Assistant Director, Carmen with The Canadian Opera Company
Assistant Director, La bohème with Glimmerglass Opera Festival

More about Brenna Corner

* Member of the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program