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Video Published: 03 May 2021

Vastation - Opera Labs from Calgary Opera

Vastation is a reconsideration of a previously composed opera. Samy Moussa’s Vastation premiered in 2014 at Munich Biennial - a festival of contemporary opera and music theatre.

Moussa, still in his 20s when he wrote the piece, was not entirely satisfied with this first venture into composing opera. Having established his reputation internationally in the intervening years as well as growing as a composer, this workshop was a chance to reassess the composition with consideration to revision for future productions. Vastation is an examination of power - democratic, military and personal - and the forces that seek to corrupt them.

This Calgary Opera project takes us deep inside the composer's process to examine the effect that criticism, personal doubt, and a drive to excel play in determining the fate of a work whose debut wasn't as successful as was hoped. It also explores the important role that collaboration plays in the composition process.

Participants: Samy Moussa, Johannes Debus, Aria Umezawa, Mark Morash, Lynne McMurtry, Eden Tremayne, Scott Rumble, Jeremy Dubé, Dominic Veilleux, Kallie Clayton, Lillian Brooks, Alanna Fraize, Jeffrey Strand, Jack Olszewski, Mel Kirby, Shelby-Jai Flick, Marc Lavallée.

Lab Dates: January 11 - 31, 2021.

Film originally released on April 26, 2021.


About Opera Labs
Stemming from a desire to find more adaptive, scalable and sustainable processes to engage artists interested in the creation of new works, Calgary Opera created Opera Labs to provide a new framework for innovation.

Opera Labs nurtures innovative and collaborative opera projects from concept to curtain.

Following in the footsteps of past General Director and CEO Bob McPhee, who was a champion of new work, the goal of the program is to add bold, new creations from diverse voices to the international opera canon.

To invite people from around the world to witness the inspiring work happening behind the scenes of the program’s four inaugural projects, the company also released a short film series filmed and edited by Pluto Pictures that documents each project’s journey.

Learn more about Calgary Opera's Opera Labs.


About Calgary Opera
Founded in 1972, Calgary Opera is one of Canada’s leading professional opera companies. For almost 50 years the not-for-profit arts company has made a name for itself, nationally and internationally for its commitment to the development of Canadian talent and the creation of new operatic works.