Tony Award-winning playwright David Henry Hwang has written the libretto for a new opera by Canadian composer Alexina Louie. Entitled The Scarlet Princess, the new piece will receive a world-premiere concert performance by The Canadian Opera Company at the George Weston Recital Hall in the Toronto Centre for the Arts on April 23.
Based on the Kabuki play The Scarlett Princess of Edo, the new opera, which is described as a "tormented love story," concerns the story of a monk — who later becomes chief abbot — and his obsession with a beautiful young princess. Canadian soprano Valdine Anderson will portray the young princess and tenor David Pomeroy will star as the remorseful abbot.
One of Canada’s most-renowned composers, Alexina Louie was named Composer of the Year in 1986 by the Canadian Music Council, and she is also the recipient of a 1988 Juno Award for best classical composition. Her soundtracks — co-written with husband Alex Pauk — include Don McKellar’s "Last Night" and Jeremy Podeswa’s "The Five Senses."
Playwright David Henry Hwang won the 1988 Tony, Outer Critics Circle, Drama Desk and John Gassner awards for his play M. Butterfly. He also wrote the short-lived 1998 play Golden Child and is currently represented on Broadway by the book for Aida. Next season will see a production of Flower Drum Song, which boasts a completely new book by Hwang. As a librettist, he has written two works for composer Philip Glass, "1000 Airplanes on the Roof" and "The Voyage," which premiered at New York’s Metropolitan Opera in 1992.
The one-night-only concert event will be conducted by Richard Pittman at 8 PM, and The George Weston Recital Hall is located within the Toronto Centre for the Arts at 5040 Yonge St. To purchase single tickets ($45 or $55), call (416) 870-8000 or visit the theatre's box office. —By Andrew Gans