Anchorage Opera acknowledges that we gather and are performing on the traditional lands of the Dena’ina Athabascans. For thousands of years the Dena’ina have been and continue to be the stewards of this land. It is with gratefulness and respect that we recognize the contributions, innovations, and contemporary perspectives of the upper Cook Inlet Dena’ina.

Performance Dates

Friday, Feb 11, 2022 @ 8:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 12, 2022 @ 8:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 13, 2022 @ 4:00 PM
(All dates & times subject to change)

In English and Gitxsan with English and Gitxsan supertitles

TICKETS call CenterTix: 907-263-ARTS (907-263-2787) or CLICK HERE

About the Opera

The story we need to tell; the women we must remember

Marie Clements (Librettist)
Brian Current (Composer)

Missing, by Métis playwright Marie Clements and Juno-winning composer Brian Current, gives voice, in English and Gitxsan, to the stories of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. A poetic expression of loss, hope and the spirit finding home. Although the action of Missing takes place in the stark reality of a current epidemic, “it also takes place in the realm of dreams, the land of myth and the caverns of the unconscious. At its core is something very real: how our culture stereotypes Indigenous women and puts them in constant danger of rape or worse” – The Straight, A. Varty. The USA premiere presentation of Missing by Anchorage Opera, Indigenous led and cast, speaks to the tragic situation in Alaska where high violence rates against Alaska Native women has created a culture in which they feel invisible and disposable.

          “Missing is an extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking work, and a milestone for the opera world. It has taken a painful and horrifying topic and rendered it into accessible art. Ultimately, its message is a universal one: open our eyes and hearts to each other’s pain. By doing so, humanity has a chance for healing and redemption. Missing begins this healing journey in a magnificent mélange of singing, acting and music that, one hopes, will be seen by audiences across Canada and the world.” – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note

Anchorage Opera is proud to present the USA premiere production of Missing in February 2022. Originally co-commissioned and co-produced by Pacific Opera Victoria and City Opera Vancouver, the opera, developed over two and a half years, had its world première in Vancouver and Victoria in November 2017.

To raise awareness in our community of the tragic epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, exhibitions and informational tables from individuals and partner organizations will be on display for attendees to view before and after the show.

Intended to foster conversations and promote healing, we invite you to a Talking Circle after each show with the cast and artistic team of Missing to discuss the production and your experience of it.

Partners

Many thanks to our partners for their invaluable assistance with this USA premiere production of Missing
Alaska Native Heritage Center, Native Movement, Data for Indigenous Justice, Alaska Native Women’s Resource Center, Alaska Native Justice Center

Missing in reviews

“The power of Missing’s libretto is magnified by the equally spare music of composer Brian Current, whose sublime score – conducted here by Timothy Long – soars and plummets in unison with the fierce complexity of emotions that are brought to bear through the telling of this tragic tale. – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note

“…Missing is a piece that at once fills your heart and tugs it down through your gut. It brings a traditionally European art form to a major issue facing indigenous communities by drawing upon the lived experiences of communities and the knowledge of indigenous language holders and storytellers of all mediums.” – Shayli Robinson, Showbill

“…The creators of Missing have forged a powerful story that tackles all the issues it should, head-on and unflinchingly. Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking, presented by Vancouver Opera this past spring, deals with similarly devastating losses. But Missing starts where the Heggie piece leaves off, going one step further to the healing and reconciliation that can come after bereavement. It needs to be seen and heard.” – Robert Jordan, Opera Canada

“…this opera is a look at what decolonization might look like. So while the subject matter is very serious and about grave injustice and tragedy, I find it very hopeful. because it’s about the spirit finding home, it’s about continuance, it’s about the collision of culture.” – Peter Hinton interview, The Globe and Mail

“Missing eschews familiar operatic conventions such as showy arias, huge choruses and a linear plot. It is a relentlessly probing meditation on how the murders and unexplained disappearances…affect everyone in the victims’ circles of life. In Métis-Dene writer/actor Marie Clements’ unconventional libretto, a succession of seemingly unrelated scenes tumble along after each other, but then gradually and inevitably begin to cohere, deeply and powerfully, to reveal an inner logic…Events unfolded in a not always linear and logical way and with a fascinating blend of English and Gitxsan… Brian Current’s minimalist score underpinned this dreamy essence admirably…” Robert Jordan, Opera Canada

“…Missing breaks with much classical opera not only in its bold subject matter – racism against native peoples as well as the ongoing tragedy of Canada’s missing and murdered Indigenous women – but also its sparse, eloquent storytelling, complemented by a minimalist set design, that delves into magic realism and metaphor as a means to express pain and, possibly, redemption.” – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note 

‘Power of opera gives story of missing Indigenous women emotional depth’ …a gripping, poetic story with powerful scenes and shifting timelines…Current’s score, under the direction of Timothy Long, provided dramatic depth — shifting from minimalist and traditional classical music to jazz-like sections and using heavy percussive elements. The small orchestra even tapped and clapped some sections, while others were sung a capella.” – Sarah Petrescu, Times Colonist

…the simple force of the tragedy the Indigenous community continues to face makes [Missing] a mustsee,” Robin Miller, Opera Canada

“Missing is an extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking work, and a milestone for the opera world. It has taken a painful and horrifying topic and rendered it into accessible art. Ultimately, its message is a universal one: open our eyes and hearts to each other’s pain. By doing so, humanity has a chance for healing and redemption. Missing begins this healing journey in a magnificent mélange of singing, acting and music that, one hopes, will be seen by audiences across Canada and the world.” – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note 

About the Librettist

Marie Clements (Librettist) is an award-winning writer, director and producer who has worked to ignite her brand of independent story-making to a variety of mediums including film, TV, radio, new media and live performance.

Her latest project, feature drama Red Snow has been nominated for 10 Leo Awards, and her feature music documentary The Road Forward, produced by the NFB, premiered at Hot Docs, opened the 2017 DOXA Documentary Film Festival, and closed the  2018 Imaginative Film Festival, receiving five Leo Awards including Best Production, Best Director, and Best Screenwriter.

The Road Forward has screened at over 300 venues in North America and also received a Best Director Award at the North American Indian Festival in San Francisco, as well as a Writer’s Guild Nomination for Best Documentary Screenplay in 2018, the WFF Women on Top Award and the WITV Spotlight Impact Award 2018.

Her documentary Looking at Edward Curtis premiered at DOXA,  The Yorkton Film Festival, and on the Knowledge Network. Her multi- award winning films have screened at Cannes, TIFF, MOMA, VIFF, Whistler Film Festival, American Indian Film Festival and ImagineNATIVE Film Festival.

Her fifteen plays have been presented on some of the most prestigious stages for Canadian and international work, garnering numerous awards and publications including the 2004 Canada-Japan Literary Award, and two prestigious Governor General’s Literary Award nominations. 

Clement is working on a tv miniseries with Grana Productions and CBC titled Bone of Crows and a limited tv series with Good Films titled Leaves Awaken. Her Unnatural and Accidental Women opened the first Indigenous Theatre  Season at The National Arts Centre in September 2019.

Marie is President of her media company MCM and Artistic Director of red diva projects. Marie is an alumna of Women In the Director’s Chair (WIDC) in Banff.

“In the hands of librettist Marie Clements … words become as powerful as arrows, each one piercing deep-seated emotions, from guilt, sorrow and enlightenment among white viewers to – for Indigenous members of the audience – grief and a sense of vindication from having the suffering of one’s community acknowledged and honoured in a public setting…

Missing is an extraordinarily moving and thought-provoking work, and a milestone for the opera world. It has taken a painful and horrifying topic and rendered it into accessible art. Ultimately, its message is a universal one: open our eyes and hearts to each other’s pain. By doing so, humanity has a chance for healing and redemption. Missing begins this healing journey in a magnificent mélange of singing, acting and music that, one hopes, will be seen by audiences across Canada and the world.” – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note. Review of Missing, City Opera Vancouver / Pacific Opera Victoria, 2017.

Learn more about Marie Clements>>>

About the Composer

Brian Current (Composer) studied music at McGill University and UC Berkeley. His music, lauded and broadcast in over 35 countries, has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Barlow Prize for Orchestral Music (USA), the Italian Premio Fedora for Chamber Opera, the Azrieli Commissioning Prize, the Grand Prize in the CBC National Competition for Young Composers and The Selected Work (under 30) at the International Rostrum of Composers in Paris. His opera Airline Icarus won the 2015 Juno Award for Classical Composition of the Year.

Brian’s pieces have been programmed by all major symphony orchestras in Canada and by dozens of professional orchestras, ensembles and opera companies world-wide. HIs work includes commissions by the Canadian Opera Company Orchestra, Montreal Symphony Orchestra and Chorus (as winner of the Azrieli Prize), Toronto Symphony Orchestra, National Youth Orchestra of Canada, Soundstreams Canada, Gryphon Trio, St. Lawrence String Quartet, and others.

Current is also an in-demand guest conductor and regularly leads orchestral programs of contemporary music. He has championed nearly one hundred works by Canadian composers. Brian has been the main conductor of the Continuum Ensemble since 2011 and has guest conducted with symphony orchestras and ensembles in Canada, the USA and Italy. Starting in 2019-2020 he is co-director of New Music Concerts (NMC) of Toronto. Since 2007 Dr. Current has been director of the New Music Ensemble of the Glenn School at The Royal Conservatory.

“The power of Missing’s libretto is magnified by the equally spare music of … composer Brian Current, whose sublime score – conducted here by Timothy Long – soars and plummets in unison with the fierce complexity of emotions that are brought to bear through the telling of this tragic tale.” – Roberta Staley, The Whole Note. Review of Missing, City Opera Vancouver / Pacific Opera Victoria, 2017.

Learn more about Brian Current>>>

Synopsis

Ava, a young white woman, is thrown from her car in a crash and badly injured. She sees another body – a young native girl – lying on the ground. Their eyes meet.

Some time after the accident, Ava returns to class at law school with her friend Jess and ex-boyfriend Devon. A guest lecturer, Dr. Wilson, addresses the class about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women. Jess argues with Dr. Wilson and feels betrayed when Ava won’t support her. The friendship is shattered.

We see a moment between the Native Mother and her adult son, at their cabin; a flashback shows him as a teenager playing with his much younger sister.

Ava sees images of the Native Girl in the store windows. She unexpectedly meets Devon and their love for each other is renewed. Ava starts to learn the Gitxsan language from Dr. Wilson.

In Ava and Devon’s home, Ava contemplates her new pregnancy and suddenly sees the Native Girl in the mirror. Ava is spooked, but when the Native Girl disappears, Ava calls her: ‘Don’t go, I’m sorry.’ They speak.

Ava and Devon celebrate marriage with a traditional Gitxsan ceremony.

At the cabin, the Native Mother mourns her lost daughter.

Ava is distressed by her baby’s constant crying. Dr. Wilson and Ava talk about the baby’s passage from one world to another. The Native Girl is attacked in the woods and Ava experiences this as a nightmare. She awakens, terrified, and Devon comforts her.

Devon goes back to sleep. Ava walks the baby up and down. The Native Girl appears, and Ava allows her to hold her baby daughter. Ava and the Native Girl sing to the baby, echoing the Native Mother’s song to her lost girl. Their worlds connect.

The Native Mother calls her daughter home.

Ava and the Native Girl have found each other: each sees the other in herself and herself in the other. The Native Girl’s spirit can fly away. At the cabin, the Native Mother and her son mourn the death of their daughter and sister.

Cast

Production Team


Kira Neta Apaachuaq Eckenweiler – Native Girl


Marion NewmanDr. Wilson


Luke HoneckDevon


Kate BassAva


Zaide Manzano – Native Mother


Evan Korbut Angus Wilde / Native Student


Timothy LongConductor


Réal Vargas AlanisAssociate Stage Director


Shannon R. DavisStage Director

Nikki Adams – Set Designer

Catherine Warden – Costumière

Free Pre-Opera Talks

Plan to join us one hour before each performance of Missing to learn the history and fascinating insights into this poignant and compelling opera.

Friday, Feb 11, 2022 @ 7:00 PM
Saturday, Feb 12, 2022 @ 7:00 PM
Sunday, Feb 13, 2022 @ 3:00 PM
(All dates & times subject to change)

Sponsors


This production made possible, in part, by an OPERA America Next Stage Grant,
supported by Gene Kaufman, Terry Eder-Kaufman, and New Vision for NYC Opera,
with additional support from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.