The Flight of the Hummingbird

Goulet | Yahgulanaas | Gilson

May 19, 2020 10:00am

Venue Pacific Opera Website

Duration 45mins

Opera Broadcast May 19

Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera presented a free broadcast of the new family opera The Flight of the Hummingbird May 19, 2020, at 10 am PDT. Our co-production of this delightful opera took flight in January 2020 to schools across our province. The tour and sold-out performances at Pacific Opera Victoria’s Baumann Centre were stalled due to COVID 19.

Pacific Opera Victoria Foundation is accepting donations to the Barry Gilson Memorial Fund to recognize the life and work of Barry Gilson, co-librettist of The Flight of the Hummingbird and dear friend of Pacific Opera. All funds collected will support future productions of The Flight of the Hummingbird in schools across Canada. Click here if you would like to celebrate Barry with a donation.

The Flight of the Hummingbird is accompanied by a web page full of learning resources, including videos, musical excerpts, and more.

An Opera for the Whole Family

In this enchanting new opera, the animals of the forest are inspired to come together by Dukdukdiya, the Hummingbird, to save their beautiful home from a raging fire.

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. This opera is influenced by the graphic novel written by acclaimed Haida artist Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and includes elements of his dramatic Haida-manga illustrations.

Music: Maxime Goulet.
Libretto and design: Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas and Barry Gilson.
Director: Glynis Leyshon

Co-commissioned and co-produced by Pacific Opera Victoria and Vancouver Opera

Opera ETC
Physically Distant | Socially Connected


Sung In


Pacific Opera Website

Seat Map



Dukdukdiya (Hummingbird)
Sara Schabas

Bunny / Crow 1
Rebecca Cuddy

Bear/ Crow 2
Jan van der Hooft

Creative Team

Libretto and Creative Design
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

Maxime Goulet

Libretto and Creative Design
Barry Gilson

Stage Director
Glynis Leyshon

Music Director
Kinza Tyrrell

Movement Coach
Wendy Gorling

Perri Lo

Shiun Kim

Stage Manager
Marijka Asbeek Brusse

I've flown the world over.
I’ve witnessed its beauty.
I've felt its fragility.

I saw the danger but I closed my eyes...
Now, we do what we can!


Excerpts and Interviews

See the action. Hear the music. Learn the story.
Watch excerpts from a performance of The Flight of the Hummingbird as the creative team discuss the opera and its significance in today's world.

Interviews with the Creative Team

Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas, Glynis Leyshon, Maxime Goulet, Kinza Tyrrell, and Barry Gilson talk about the creative process and the call to action behind the opera. Video capture and photos: Nadia Zheng. Video editing: Maxime Goulet. Pianist: Perri Lo. Production photos: Tim Matheson.

Vital People: Flight of the Hummingbird a message of moral courage

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.

Read more

From book to opera: B.C. artist’s call to action

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.”

Read more

The Flight of the Hummingbird: l'opéra-jeunesse du Québécois Maxime Goulet présenté plus de 100 fois

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.

Read more

Le colibri, symbole de courage et de sagesse, dans l'opéra Flight of the Hummingbird

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)

Additional Learning Resources and Videos

Thank you!

The Flight of the Hummingbird is made possible in part by the generosity of the following donors:

Rodolfo & Marianne Bianco
Dr. Heather F. Clarke
Lorna Court
Dr. Peter Harnetty
Martha Lou Henley, C.M.
Linda Lee Henriksen
Vicky Husband
Reet Kana
Bill & Risa Levine
Stephen & Barbara McKerrell
John McManus
Joan McNeely
George & Santi Pick
Mr. Anthony Roper
Mrs. Ronnie Tessler
Ms. Beverly Unger
Dr. Sandra Vestvik
Dr. Lydia Wingate

Hybrid Electric touring vans made possible with support from a BC Community Gaming Capital Project Grant

Top of page photo: Sara Schabas as Dukdukdiya (Hummingbird). Photo: Nadia Zheng

Our work takes place on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking people, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.