Opera Broadcast May 19
To support students and educators in their online learning – and to delight everyone else – The Flight of the Hummingbird will be available here until late summer, helping us stay physically distanced and socially connected.
The Flight of the Hummingbird is accompanied by a Study Guide aligned with the First People’s Principles of Learning and the BC curriculum, as well as an additional 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
Pacific Opera Website
Libretto and Creative Design
Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas
Libretto and Creative Design
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.
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.”
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.
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)
The Flight of the Hummingbird is made possible in part by the generosity of the following donors:
Dr. Heather F. Clarke
Dr. Peter Harnetty
Martha Lou Henley, C.M.
Linda Lee Henriksen
Bill & Risa Levine
George & Santi Pick
Mr. Anthony Roper
Mrs. Ronnie Tessler
Ms. Beverly Unger
Dr. Sandra Vestvik
Dr. Lydia Wingate
Our work takes place on the traditional lands of the Lekwungen speaking people, now known as the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations.