Missing

Marie Clements / Brian Current

A story we know. A woman we must remember

ON TOUR NOVEMBER 2019 to Victoria, Regina, & Prince George
A new chamber opera by Métis playwright Marie Clements and Juno-winning composer Brian Current, Missing gives voice, in English and Gitksan, to the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women. Set in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside and along the Highway of Tears, Missing is a poetic expression of loss and hope.

Missing is an extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking work… a magnificent mélange of singing, acting and music that, one hopes, will be seen by audiences across Canada and the world. – The Whole Note

Co-commissioned and co-produced by Pacific Opera Victoria and City Opera Vancouver, the opera, developed over two and a half years, had its world première in Vancouver and Victoria in November 2017.

In 2019, Pacific Opera partnered with the Victoria Native Friendship Centre, Prince George Native Friendship Centre, Regina Treaty/Status Indian Services, Regina Symphony Orchestra, and Prince George Symphony Orchestra, to remount Missing for performances at the Baumann Centre in Victoria, at the Regina Performing Arts Centre, and at the House of Ancestors “Uda Dune Baiyoh,” in Prince George.


Creative Team

Composer: Brian Current
Librettist: Marie Clements
Conductor: Timothy Long
Director: Peter Hinton
Scenic and Projection Designer: Andy Moro
Costume Designer: Carmen Thompson
Lighting Designer: John Webber
Assistant Lighting Designer: Alia Stephen
Sound Designer: Sandy Scofield
Additional Sound Design: Troy Slocum
Dramaturg: Paula Danckert
Gitksan Translations and Diction Coach: Vincent Gogag
Gitksan IPA Transcriptions: Michael David Schwan
Surtitles: Anika Vervecken, Teresa Turgeon
Stage Manager: Chris Porter
Assistant Stage Manager: Bradley Dunn

Cast

2019 Cast, in order of vocal appearance
Ava: Caitlin Wood
Native Girl: Joanna Diindiisikwe Simmons
Jess: Heather Molloy
Devon: Jan van der Hooft
Dr. Wilson: Marion Newman
Native Student / Angus Wilds: Kyle Lehmann
Native Mother: Rose-Ellen Nichols

Cast from the 2017 World Première
Ava: Caitlin Wood
Native Girl: Melody Courage
Jess: Heather Molloy
Devon: Kaden Forsberg
Dr. Wilson: Marion Newman
Native Student / Angus Wilds: Clarence Logan
Native Mother: Rose-Ellen Nichols


Media

Above: Scenes from the 2017 world première production of Missing


Media from the 2019 touring production…

In Regina, Missing is a heart-wrenching, vital story of MMIWG

Review of Missing by Ashley Martin for the Regina Leader-Post

In an opera, you expect the performers to be singing the entire time.
But there’s a scene in Missing wherein Rose-Ellen Nichols just weeps.
Weep isn’t a strong enough word. She’s in anguish.
She portrays a character simply called Native Mother. Her daughter has gone missing on British Columbia’s Highway 16, the Highway of Tears…
Later, the missing girl’s brother (Kyle Lehmann) corrects a stereotype. “My sister was on her way home from school,” he sings. “She was going to go to law school to be a lawyer. She had plans. She wanted a family. She wanted to live. She wanted to love. She wanted what every human being wants.”
…Before Friday night’s show, there was acknowledgment of the family members in the audience, survivors whose loved ones are among the many missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls in Canada.

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Review from Check the Program

John Threlfall of Check the Program reviews Missing.

It’s rare that a new opera can achieve that delicate balance between being both timely and timeless — the former commenting on the world around us, while the latter offers material that will still be relevant for future audiences, regardless of when it is performed
… this powerful, moving and compelling production should be required viewing for any contemporary Canadian audience…
“Missing” is ideally suited for opera, which so often focuses on high tragedy and death, and is often performed in other languages, making the English and Gitskan libretto with surtitles here neither foreign or difficult to follow.

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Regina expat Molloy reflects on ‘Missing’ and the truth it conveys

Ashley Martin of the Regina Leader-Post interviews librettist Marie Clements and mezzo soprano Heather Molloy, who portrays Jess in Missing.

Marie Clements … focused on two young women, one Indigenous and one non-Indigenous … She wanted to send a message of “our responsibility in making it possible that all young women have a chance to live a life and follow their plans and their dreams…”
Focusing on individual characters is “a great place to start having these conversations,” said Molloy. Each missing or murdered woman is a person with a story, “rather than these huge, horrible statistics…”

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Opera: Emotions run high for cast of Missing

Mike Devlin of the Times Colonist interviews Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations mezzo soprano Marion Newman.

Marion Newman has worked for two decades on projects that were artistically challenging … But few have matched the spiritual satisfaction of her two-year involvement with Missing, the critically lauded chamber opera by Métis librettist Marie Clements and composer Brian Current….
Missing will have resonance for decades to come, and Newman hopes it will provide some healing to families of missing and murdered women.
“When we hear someone singing to us, I think it just resonates differently in our bones than reading a story does, or seeing news bits on television. We absorb that story so fully that I think it makes us have to process it more deeply. And in that way, I think art can make change, because it changes us.”

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Opera tells story of missing and murdered Indigenous women

Linda Ostrom interviews Marion Newman for Camosun College’s student newspaper Nexus.

“Probably [Missing is] one of the operas that I think is the most important to be happening again and again and again,” says Newman. “I am thrilled to be part of it.”
…“These are our mothers, sisters, our aunts, our friends, and they matter,” she says. “They deserve to be looked for, to be protected…
The provincial government introducing legislation to implement the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples … would make Dr. Wilson, who Newman performs … have … hope.

Read more”>


Media from the 2017 World Première…

Selected media
PDF of selected press coverage and reviews of the 2017 world première of Missing, co-produced by City Opera Vancouver and Pacific Opera Victoria.

2016 CBC Radio Interview with Marie Clements
Marie Clements talks about the issue of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, and how opera can accomplish something new in telling this very human story. A 2016 interview on CBC’s Early Edition, before the opera was written.


Support

This touring production is made possible by the extraordinary support of the following:

  • The Canada Council for the Arts
  • The Government of Canada through the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Commemoration Fund of the Department for Women and Gender Equality
  • The Community Support, Multiculturalism, and Anti-Racism Initiatives Program of the Department of Canadian Heritage
  • The Vancouver Foundation
  • TD Bank
  • Sask Culture
  • K&S Potash Canada
  • City of Regina

Pacific Opera is also profoundly grateful for the confidence, faith, and vision of funders who supported the commission and the 2017 world première of Missing, including the Vancouver Foundation; the Canada Council for the Arts’ New Chapter Program; Creative BC and the Province of British Columbia; the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, the Victoria Foundation, the Koerner Foundation, and an anonymous Foundation.