The Banff Centre

August 8, 10, & 12, 2007

Eric Harvie Theatre
$25 · $20 · $15   ♥ Arts Lover Passholders free

Music by John Estacio
Libretto by John Murrell  O.C., A.O.E.
Co-commissioned and co-produced by

The Banff Centre calgary Opera

Supported by The Calgary Foundation

The Banff Centre thanks John and Grace Ballem, Mario Stella, and C.A. Seibens for their generous support of Frobisher.

The second full-length original opera created by John Estacio and John Murrell, Frobisher tells a story of love, loss, and adventure in Canada’s North. Set against the backdrop of the Northern Lights and the forbiddingly beautiful Arctic landscape, the story weaves back and forth in time, with powerful parallel stories of exploration and discovery, 500 years apart. The opera presents us with a modern-day filmmaking couple from Alberta, Michael and Anna. They plan to film their version of the story of pirate and explorer Martin Frobisher, who made three voyages to the Arctic in the 1570s. As Michael and Anna explore the possibilities of this thrilling creative endeavour, they experience the extremes of both nature and human emotion, driven by their irrepressible dreams. Throughout, Martin Frobisher himself appears, telling his own story of larger-than-life ambition and his attempt to discover a tropical Paradise which, in his time, was rumoured to exist “at the top of the world.”

Murrell and Estacio first worked together on Filumena, a mainstage opera premiered in 2003. Co-commissioned and co-produced by The Banff Centre and Calgary Opera, it was developed through a series of intensive musical and dramaturgical workshops that took place at the Centre over the course of two years. After its enormously successful debut as part of Calgary Opera’s 2002–2003 season, and a remount during the 2003 Banff Summer Arts Festival, Filumena was produced to rave reviews in Edmonton, and again in Banff. In 2005, the Banff Centre production headlined the National Arts Centre’s “Alberta Scene” festival in Ottawa.

For this second collaboration, Murrell and Estacio are again partnering with several members of the same creative team that made Filumena such a success — stage director Kelly Robinson, set and costume designer Sue LePage, and lighting designer Harry Frehner. After its premiere as part of Calgary Opera’s 2006–2007 season, Frobisher will be a centrepiece of the 2007 Banff Summer Arts Festival.

CBC Radio Two recorded the world premiere of Frobisher on January 27, 2007, at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

The Banff Centre is grateful to the following donors for their generous support of the Centre’s Frobisher creation and production costs: Jackie Flanagan, John and Grace Ballem, Jim Dinning and Evelyn Main, Peter and Jeanne Lougheed, Esther Ondrack, Alice Schultz, C. A. Siebens, David and Carolyn Tavender, Priscilla Wilson, Shirley Wolfe, Stan and Lou Wong, and Jean-Marie Zeitouni.


Supported by

Calgary Opera

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