news | Friday January 23, 2015

Christina, the Girl King, now the Diva

Michel Marc Bouchard’s latest play, Christina, The Girl King (Talon, 2014), will be turned into an opera by the playwright himself and Montreal composer Ana Sokolovic. Commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company for 2019-2020, La Reine-Garçon will be an operatic version of his play about the 17th-century Swedish queen, Christina.

… the pairing of Bouchard, one of Quebec’s most prominent playwrights, with Sokolovic was a … methodical marriage of composer and librettist.

Sokolovic has created several chamber operas for the Toronto company Queen of Puddings … [COC general-director Alexander Neef] also knew Bouchard’s plays and had read Christine, la reine-garçon (which was performed in English translation at the Stratford Festival in 2014, as Christina, the Girl King). He asked Sokolovic if she was interested in collaborating with an unnamed playwright on a full-length opera for the COC before approaching Bouchard about writing the libretto; the playwright’s only stipulation was that he would write the opera in French. When told who her collaborator would be, Sokolovic read the play and was immediately intrigued by Bouchard’s feminist heroine.

“I was seduced by the contemporaneity of this subject; I didn’t have any impression the story wasn’t happening today,” Sokolovic said, noting Christina’s remarkable insistence on peace despite the opposition of her military advisers, and her refusal to marry. “She didn’t behave; she was original in all her activities.”

… the Bouchard-Sokolovic project is only the second full-scale Canadian opera at the COC since 1999 … The first, a commission from Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor entitled Hadrian that was announced in 2013, will be performed in 2018-2019.

Read more in the Globe & Mail (from January 15) and on (January 16).

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