British Columbia health officials have directed event organizers to cancel all gatherings of 50 people or more. We are postponing school and public performances of The Flight of the Hummingbird scheduled from March to May 2020..
We apologize for any inconvenience this situation may cause. We will be in touch with all affected schools and venues in the coming weeks.
For more information, please see our most recent Public Health Update.
An enchanting new opera for young people, The Flight of the Hummingbird tours British Columbia schools and community venues from January to May 2020.
In this delightful and thought-provoking work, the animals of the forest are inspired to come together by Dukdukdiya, the Hummingbird, to save their beautiful home from a raging fire.
With music by Maxime Goulet and libretto by the acclaimed Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Barry Gilson, The Flight of the Hummingbird is based on an indigenous parable from the Quechuan people of South America. The story of the brave hummingbird travelled through pre-contact trade routes to become well known within Haida culture.
The opera is influenced by the graphic novel Flight of the Hummingbird, by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and includes elements of his dramatic Haida-manga illustrations.
The Flight of the Hummingbird is co-commissioned and co-produced by Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera.
The opera is 45 minutes in length and features four singers and a small ensemble. The production is suitable for students in Kindergarten through Grade 9. The production is accompanied by a study guide aligned with the First People’s Principles of Learning and the BC curriculum. The study guide was created by an advisory council of Indigenous artists, educators and knowledge keepers.
Dedicated to Indigenous Peoples, their neighbours, and friends, who persist in keeping our one world safe for our children
Composer Maxime Goulet has arranged a song from The Flight of the Hummingbird for young voices and granted permission to perform it as written or with new lyrics that children create themselves. The Song of Persistence describes how Indigenous cultures around the world steward the land in face of climate change. Learn more in the Study Guide to the opera, listen to the recordings below, and download the sheet music.
Pedro Arrais, Times Colonist.
Audiences soon realize that the moral of the story is a call to action … any individual, regardless how small, can be a changemaker to inspire the whole community to act.
“Imagine the image of a hummingbird flying with a tiny drop of water to fight a forest fire,” said Ian Rye, CEO of Pacific Opera. “It is a story of how the forest animals, by coming together, could overcome overwhelming odds. It is a metaphor on climate change and selfempowerment that we find resonates with both children and adults.”
… Performances have been put on indefinite hold due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but educators are encouraged to contact Pacific Opera to book a performance on a future tour.
Mike Devlin interviews Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas for the Times Colonist.
The co-production … gave Yahgulanaas, who admits to having very little theatre, opera or music experience, a blank canvas on which to re-write his story — and he did so with the wide-open approach of a librettist taking his first steps in the opera world.
“I’m not a well-educated person — no degrees here,” he said with a laugh. “I never did finish my first year of art school, and there’s some question as to whether or not I even properly graduated from Grade 12. So I walked into it pretty naively … This allowed me a vast horizon of possibilities, because I didn’t know what the reference rules or regulations were.”
… For such a small book … the tale about a hummingbird and its friends attempting to save the environment has made a big impact. “It’s a story for the time, a call to action … What we have in the story is a hummingbird moving into action, but we actually never know [how it ends]. It’s of secondary importance. The primary importance is this state of engagement.”
Caroline Rodgers interviews composer Maxime Goulet about The Flight of the Hummingbird.
Le spectacle suscite déjà de l’intérêt en dehors du Canada.
« Il y a beaucoup d’aspects de l’opéra qui font qu’il est d’actualité et intéresse des diffuseurs, notamment le message environnemental face aux changements climatiques, sans être moralisateur. Le fait qu’il soit aussi basé sur une histoire écrite par un membre des Premières Nations attire l’attention, car il y a beaucoup de gens qui sont intéressés à partager des éléments de cette culture.
An in-depth interview with composer Maxime Goulet for Radio Canada’s Vancouver program Boulevard du Pacifique with Jacques Dufresne and Vancouver Arts reporter Yolaine Mottet. The interview includes an introduction to the opera, the characters, and the music, and promotes the public presentations in Victoria and Vancouver.
Le Vancouver Opera et le Pacific Opera ont demandé à l’artiste haïda Michael Yahgulanaas d’écrire un opéra pour un jeune public à partir de son livre Flight of the Hummingbird dont il avait aussi fait les illustrations. Cette fable raconte l’histoire du brave colibri qui fait ce qu’il peut pour sauver une forêt des flammes destructrices. Le compositeur de l’opéra est le Montréalais Maxime Goulet avec qui Yolaine Mottet s’est entretenue.
Listen (Interview is in French)
Above: short video of Flight of the Hummingbird, based on the book and artwork by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. Film by Christopher Auchter, Trickster Animation House. Narration by Lark Clark. Music by Big City Indians.
January 20 to February 23, 2020: Vancouver and Lower Mainland
February 24 to March 18: Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands
March 30 to April 5: Kamloops, Kelowna (Postponed)
April 6 to 12: Lower Mainland (Postponed)
April 13 to May 3: Vancouver (Postponed)
Public performances scheduled for March 18 to 22, 2020, at the Baumann Centre, Victoria, and for May 3 at the Vancouver Playhouse have been postponed.
Even the smallest creature can make a big impact
The Greater Victoria Public Library hosted Be a Hummingbird, a curated series of programs for all ages, inspired by Haida author and artist Michael Nicholl Yahgulanaas’s book Flight of the Hummingbird.
Be a Hummingbird explores themes of environmentalism, responsibility and courage through song, story, and experience. All programs were free, with registration through the Greater Victoria Public Library.