Good Story: Indigenous Opera Reflects on the Residential School System Through Music

Calgary’s historic Grand Studio Theater is hosting Robert Hunter’s Good Story: Indigenous Opera tonight and tomorrow, November 4-5. The show focuses on Hunter’s Indigenous roots and how his family coped with the residential school system and colonialism.

“This story, however, doesn’t paint her very negatively,” says Ethan Hill, a local composer and organist for the show.

“It’s basically about telling some of the really interesting facts about his heritage. The stories there are really, really touching. At one point, he even talks about the boarding school teachers that his family cared about.”

Hill goes on to explain how this particular Indigenous musical project feels special to him, as the stories they work on come directly from the composer’s lived experience.

Ethan Hill studied piano and received his BA from the University of Victoria and his graduate degree from McGill University. Nowadays he plays the organ full time for various ensembles like his church and ballet companies. PHOTO PROVIDED BY ETHAN HILL

“We can really see the raw footage, so to speak,” says Hill.

The show will also feature Calgary Opera singer-baritone Adam Brousseau, vocalist soprano Lauren Woods and mezzo-soprano Jeanine Williams.

The first performance begins at 7 p.m. on November 4 and the second at 2:30 p.m. the following day.

Tickets cost $25 and are available online.

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Jeremy S. McLain