Tomson Highway's Cree opera Pimooteewin: The Journey is touring northern Ontario April 22-May 7 with upcoming stops in Thunder Bay, Atikokan, Chapleau, Wawa, Marathon and Red Rock.
"Pimooteewin: The Journey is culturally provocative and profoundly Canadian," said Lawrence Cherney, artistic director of Soundstreams, the organization bringing the opera to northern Ontario. "It is a true reflection of Canadian culture and society in 2009. Pimooteewin celebrates universal themes of life and death and weaves together music and ideas from globally diverse genres, artists and traditions."
Choreographed and directed by Cree actor, choreographer and dancer Michael Greyeyes, the opera was written by Highway and the music created by award-winning Canadian composer Melissa Hui.
The opera features two Aboriginal mythology characters, the Trickster (Weesageechak) and the Eagle (Migisoo), as they journey across a river to the magic island where the Spirits of the Dead perform a nocturnal dance in the moonlight. The Trickster and Eagle capture the Spirits in a basket, but on their triumphant journey home, the Spirits escape.
"Trickster serves a tremendous role through our Aboriginal culture because through his mischief, joy and machinations he teaches us humanity about ourselves," Greyeyes said.
The opera, which tackles the sensitive subjects of life and death with the profound wisdom and humour typical of Tomson Highway's writing, has already been performed in Red Lake and Sioux Lookout.
Traditionally, I was told that life was without dysfunction and all peoples embraced their individual, family and community moments, with language and...