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THE SCOOP | The Canadian Opera Company Will Mark World Water Day With Digital Recording Release

By Anya Wassenberg on March 21, 2023

Olivia Shortt (Photo courtesy of the COC)
Olivia Shortt (Photo courtesy of the COC)

The Canadian Opera Company will mark World Water Day, March 22, 2023, with the debut of noondaadiwag. The digital concert recording features a performance from Olivia Shortt (they/them), an Anishinaabe-irish artist together with Canadian soprano Alexandra Smither and the Canadian duo Orbit (Aliayta Foon-Dancoes and Isidora Nojkovic).

The concert includes new works that incorporate improvisation, Indigenous modes of expression, and pushing the boundaries of vocalism in works for voice, strings, and saxophone.

“This concert tackles a variety of themes and ideas that I’ve been thinking about over the last few years, specifically during the pandemic,” says Shortt in a statement. The artists first came together in 2020 during the lockdown period, and have built their musical collaborations both digitally and in-person. “The program explores the idea of collaboration and also the relationships I have with other artists, as an artist myself.”

An audio track plays during the live performance of noondaadiwag, which was recorded during a performance at the Richard Bradshaw Theatre. One of the pieces, bagaskaadagaazii, is a 2020 Orbit commission that was reworked in 2021. The piece draws attention to the lack of clean drinking water on many reserves. Bagaskaadagaazii is an Ojibwemowin word which means “s/he wades splashing through the water.”

“For me, continuing this conversation is really important,” continues Shortt. “Clean drinking water is a basic thing that everyone should be able to access, regardless of where you live in this country.”

The concert recording will be available online March 22, 2023 through the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Digital Membership. More information, including program notes, here.

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