Local talent features in puppet opera workshop to be held in Almonte!

by Pippa Norman

When most of us hear the word “opera”, we do not immediately imagine a cast of puppets acting out the toils and troubles of a homeless man named Ted. But that is exactly what popped into the mind of respected Canadian guitarist/composer Roddy Ellias when he was given creative freedom by the director of Ottawa’s Music and Beyond festival, Julian Armour (musicandbeyond.ca). Roddy has taken a libretto written by award-winning poet Sandra Nicholls and set it to a score that contains aspects of jazz, classical and contemporary music, to create an original opera entitled Sleeping Rough. This dark and intriguing production will be showcased during the Ottawa festival being held in July.

However, with impressive local talents such as puppet-maker Noreen Young and costume designer Ingrid Harris being featured as part of this event, the decision to hold a preview workshop at the Almonte Old Town Hall was easily made. This will be an informal affair during which the puppeteers and some musicians will perform an excerpt from the opera for the audience, seek their valuable feedback, and address their enquiries. All of the puppets will be introduced by their creator Noreen, with their mechanics being demonstrated by the puppeteers. Talks by Roddy and Sandra will also be featured.

In addition, acclaimed vocalists Kelly Sloan and Kellylee Evans will be performing as part of the workshop. Kelly, who has won multiple awards and tours throughout Canada and Europe, will be performing the aria Fly So Far From Me, which appears in Act II of the opera. Kellylee is a Juno Award winner with six albums under her belt, and she will be performing the part of the Chorus at both the workshop and the Ottawa performances.

With so much going on and so much to look forward to, it is impossible to resist this exclusive chance to get up close and personal with the creative forces behind this soon-to-be spectacle! The Almonte workshop will be taking place on Thursday, June 14 at 7:30 pm at the Almonte Old Town Hall (doors open at 7 pm, and donations are most welcome). For more information, please contact kris@thehumm.com.