KHAOS rehearsal in preparation for the premiere this Thursday night.

KHAOS excitement beyond Nelson’s borders

Locally grown opera getting big time national attention as premiere draws closer.

Nelson’s Amy Ferguson Institute announced last week that that it has learned the world premiere of its newly commissioned opera KHAOS — opening in Nelson on March 8 — will be covered by some of Canada’s pre-eminent national news and arts media including The Globe and Mail, Opera Canada magazine and three different CBC public affairs and arts programs in Calgary, Vancouver and Kelowna.

“We are extremely gratified that our efforts here in Nelson have captured the attention of these important media organizations,” said Marty Horswill, KHAOS producer. “To have Opera Canada’s reviewer come to Nelson to report on the premiere first hand is probably the most important coverage a new Canadian opera could hope for.  It is also a huge vote of confidence in what our composer, Don Macdonald, and our librettist, Nicola Harwood, have created.”

“Of course, we are equally gratified that The Globe and Mail is covering the KHAOS premiere. For the Canadian English language print media, The Globe and Mail is as good as it gets,” Horswill added.  “Marsha Lederman, the Globe’s Western Arts Editor, had also hoped to be able to get to Nelson to report first hand on the preparations leading up to the premiere.  But in the end she wasn’t able to leave her Vancouver base and instead she will do her story by phone interviews with myself, Don Macdonald and Nicola Harwood and with Charles Barber, artistic director and conductor of City Opera Vancouver.”

Mr. Barber has first hand knowledge of KHAOS as he participated in the workshop performances of the first draft of the opera last June.

Opera Canada reviewer, Hilary Clark, will spend three days in Nelson and attend all the KHAOS evening performances before writing her review. Opera Canada is a quarterly music magazine founded in 1960 in Toronto and is the oldest continuously published arts magazine in Canada.

CBC Calgary’s Radio 2 program, IN TUNE, CBC Vancouver’s province-wide arts program , North by Northwest, and CBC Kelowna’s southern interior morning, public affairs program, Daybreak South will all do their own segments on the KHAOS premiere. Daybreak South host, Chris Walker, will attend the opening night performance and then do a remote broadcast from Nelson the following morning, March 9th, where he plans to interview people involved in the KHAOS production.

As Opera Canada is a quarterly publication, Clark’s review won’t be published until the spring issue or later. Lederman’s article is scheduled to appear nationally in the March 8 issue of the Globe and Mail. The North by Northwest segment on KHAOS was aired this past weekend.

KHAOS is a re-imagining of the ancient Greek myth of Demeter and Persephone set in a contemporary world of climate change and looming global catastrophe. This re-telling of the Greek legend asks the question ‘What if civilization’s greed and unrelenting drive for progress prevented Persephone from returning to Earth to console her grieving mother?  Would Demeter’s grief and rage end life on earth as we know it?’”

The world premiere production of KHAOS takes place at Nelson’s Capitol Theatre March 8, 9 and 10. The show will then travel to the Key City Theatre in Cranbrook on March 17.  The second leg of the KHAOS tour will take the show to Grand Forks, Trail and Creston, BC on May 11, 12 and 13. Tickets on sale at the usual box office and local retail outlets.

Readers interested in learning more about the new opera should log onto the KHAOS website at, where they can also hear excerpts from the new work.


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