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Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Opera Nova Scotia to present two original works

Letters from Home and Penelope: Dreamwalker will be performed at The Sanctuary Arts Centre in Dartmouth on May 25.

Mother’s Day may be over for another year, but Opera Nova Scotia is extending the celebration on May 25 with two original musical works. The two pieces, created and performed by soprano Janice Isabel Jackson and mezzo-soprano Paula Rockwell, focus on themes of women’s strength, motherhood, and life in Nova Scotia.

Among the two works is Rockwell’s Letters from Home. Written in 2015, the opera utilizes family letters to tell the story of her maternal grandmother’s relocation from England to Nova Scotia. The production portrays settler history in the 19th and 20th centuries, focusing on the everyday lives of women, family losses and the love of home using video projections of the letters, with original song compositions celebrating generations of women.

Jackson’s 12-minute mini-opera Penelope: Dreamwalker explores the unexpected pregnancy and resulting suicide of a young woman called Penelope, who studied at Dalhousie University in the 1920s. Her death in the University’s Shirreff Hall led to stories of a ghost haunting the residence.

Letters from Home and Penelope: Dreamwalker takes place at The Sanctuary Arts Centre (100 Ochterloney St, Dartmouth) on May 25. Visit for tickets and information.

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