“Letters from Home” and “Penelope: Dreamwalker”

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“Letters from Home” and “Penelope: Dreamwalker”

May 25 @ 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm

Opera Nova Scotia presents two tales of women’s strength, motherhood, and life in Nova Scotia

Join us at The Sanctuary Arts Centre for a double bill of Letters from Home and Penelope: Dreamwalker, two captivating one-woman shows, celebrating the strength and diversity of women’s experiences. Each story is intricately woven with the essence of womanhood and the spirit of Nova Scotia.

Penelope: Dreamwalker by Janice Isabel Jackson is a mini opera exploring the story of a Halifax ghost called Penelope of Shirreff Hall in the 1920s. Impregnated by her professor who abandons her, Penelope makes a tragic final decision.

Letters from Home by Paula Rockwell tells the story of Paula’s maternal grandmother’s relocation from England to Nova Scotia, recounted from letters mailed between her grandmother and great grandmother, who never saw each other again in person. Featuring original music and script along with archival projections, the production illuminates a period of settler history, specifically the everyday lives of women, and their preoccupations with love of family, love of home, love of husband, loss of parents, and loss of children by moving away. Paula’s vocal story-telling, both in speech and in song, celebrates the generations of women who carried on and the changes they experienced.

Soprano Janice Isabel Jackson is a new music specialist, vocalist, composer, and producer. She has sung over 250 world premieres and performed contemporary music in festivals and stages worldwide. She is Artistic Director of Vocalypse Productions based in Halifax, NS, which focuses on contemporary voice projects. Last season she premiered the role of Mona Parsons in Sandy Moore’s new opera, “Escape to Freedom”. Janice has been composing for solo voice for several years, collaborating with artist Annie Martin on a substantial suite of solo songs entitled “O Death” in 2020. She has received many awards including the Friends of Canadian Music Award from the CLC and CMC, an Established Artist Award from the Creative Nova Scotia Leadership Council, and a Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia Award for her contribution to Nova Scotian culture.

Mezzo soprano Paula Rockwell has been steeped in musical projects, performances, and festivals in her home province of Nova Scotia, as well across Canada and the US. She teaches voice, diction, scene studies and history of musical theatre at her alma mater, Acadia University, and she has created productions for the music school’s Singing Theatre Production Ensemble. Paula has been featured on several recordings and co-produced her debut CD “Fleeting Melodies”, a collection of 20th century art songs and arias. She has held several operatic roles and performed with symphony orchestras across North America, as well as for many community fundraisers, including Opera Nova Scotia’s annual Opera Valentine. Each summer she gives masterclasses and performs at The Ogontz Choral Symposium in New Hampshire. She is a frequent adjudicator at music festivals and gives clinics/masterclasses on vocal pedagogy, interpretation, and stage craft. Other musical projects include a CD of original works entitled “Unwrapped … finally surfacing” and a music video “I’m on My Way Home” (Vimeo, 2020). In 2019, Paula sang the role of Lucy the Beggar Woman in “Sweeney Todd” with Side-By-Side Productions and the Wolfville Theatre Collective. She made her debut as music director and the role of Yente with Stage Prophets Theatre Company’s “Fiddler on the Roof” in 2019, and she was the music director for their 20th Anniversary Revue in 2022, “Jesus Christ Superstar” in 2023, and “The Music Man” in May 2024.


May 25
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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The Sanctuary Arts Centre
100 Ochterloney Street
Dartmouth, NS B2Y 1C5 Canada
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