Highlands Opera Studio


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Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavillion | Haliburton

Experience this important new work combining opera and First Nations singers and instrumentalists, created for HOS by Odawa composer, Barbara Croall, in its very first public semi-staged workshop performance. Production in collaboration with L'Atelier Lyrique, L'Opéra de Montréal.

Canada Council for the Arts New Chapter LogoCanada150 LogoCAST

Adanya Dunn, soprano
Samuel Chan, baritone
Rod Nettagog, First Nations actor/singer/musician
Bradley Nettagog, First Nations actor/singer/musician
Barbara Croall, First Nations actor/singer/musician


Active internationally from the start of her career in 1995, acclaimed Odawa First Nation composer and musician Barbara Croall from Canada (Manidoo Mnissing, Giniw dodem) has received world premiere performances of her music in several European countries, the UK, the United States, Asia, and Latin America. Apart from playing, performing, and composing on the pipigwan (Anishinaabe cedar flute) and singing in traditional ceremonies, Croall is a classically trained musician, with degrees, diplomas and studies at Centre Acanthes (France), the Hochschule fur Musik in Munich, Germany (Meisterklassendiplom-Aufbaustudium), The Royal Conservatory of Music (Toronto), the Glenn Gould School and the University of Toronto (Bachelor of Music in Composition). Croall has continued to create musical works which have fascinated and enthralled critics and audiences alike for her distinctly Indigenous sound within the field of classical music, theatre, dance, film, and multidisciplinary performance. She has frequently been a guest composer and performer at the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.) and was composer-in-residence at the Wesleyan Center for the Arts (Wesleyan University, CT). Apart from her work as a composer and performer, she also teaches outdoor environmental education rooted in traditional Anishinaabe teachings, while also regularly working with urban and at-risk Aboriginal youth in schools in multi-disciplinary theatrical projects. As the child of a residential school survivor she is regularly invited to speak at events and ongoing initiatives for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and at various churches seeking a way forward for healing and change.

From 1998 to 2000 she was a Resident Composer with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra working with Finnish conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste. Other orchestral and large ensemble performances of her music include: The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, The Guelph Symphony Orchestra, The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra, Victoria Symphony Orchestra (Canada), The Royal Conservatory Orchestra (Toronto), The National Academy Orchestra (Boris Brott, Canada), Windsor Symphony Orchestra, Kamloops Symphony Orchestra, Hannaford Street Silver Band, Wesleyan Symphony Orchestra (US), Mary Washington Wind Orchestra (US), the Composer's Orchestra (Canada), among others. Her music has been premiered and performed at many international festivals, such as: Festival d'Avignon (France), Murten Festival (Switzerland), ADevantgarde Festival neuer Musik (Munich), Is Arti Contemporary Music Festival (Lithuania), Northlands New Music Exchange (Finland), Aboriginal Music Days 2000 (University of Toronto), Made in Canada Festival (Massey Hall, Toronto), Motoperpetuo (Italy), Classical Native (Washington, D.C.), Indigenous Music Festival (Winnipeg), Ottawa Chamberfest – Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival, Music Niagara – Niagara International Music Festival (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Canada), Brott Festival (Hamilton, ON).

As a performer on the pipigwan (traditional Anishinaabe cedar flute), and as a pianist and vocalist, Croall has been a guest at such venues as: The Glenn Gould Studio (CBC Broadcasting Centre, Toronto), Mexican Embassy (Rome, Italy), Palacio de Bellas Artes (Mexico City), the Kennedy Centre (Washington, D.C.), the National Museum of the American Indian (Washington, D.C.), Centennial Concert Hall (Winnipeg MB), River Run Centre (Guelph ON), Centre in the Square (Kitchener-Waterloo ON), Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (Vilnius) Walter Hall (University of Toronto), Mazzoleni Recital Hall (Glenn Gould School, Toronto), Farquhar Auditorium (University of Victoria BC), Hamilton Place and The McIntyre Performing Arts Centre (Hamilton ON), Jane Mallet Theatre (Toronto), TCU Place (Saskatoon SK), Crowell Concert Hall – Center for the Arts (Wesleyan University, CT), and other smaller notable venues.

As a composer, Croall has worked with leading international conductors, such as: Simon Streatfeild (England/Canada) Jukka-Pekka Saraste (Finland), Elgar Howarth (England), Andrew Mickelthwate (Germany/Canada), Alex Pauk (Canada), Alain Trudel (Quebec), Boris Brott (Canada), Tania Miller (Canada), Eric Paetkau (Canada), Fabio Mastrangelo (Italy/Russia), Judith Yan (Canada), and Gillian MacKay (Canada). Croall's music and performances have been broadcast frequently on CBC (Radio One and Radio Two) and APTN (Aboriginal Peoples Television Network), and internationally on Bayerische Rundfunk-Bayern 3, Deutsche Radio Swiss (DRS-II), Radio France, Italian National Television, Kennedy Center Live Broadcasts, Radio UNAM (Mexico), and Bulgarian Radio, among others. Awards include: the Glenn Gould Award in Composition (University of Toronto, 1989), numerous scholarships at the Royal Conservatory of Music/Glenn Gould School (1992-96), awards from the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1993-98), three nominations for the K.M. Hunter Award (2003, 2007 and 2012), a Visual and Expressive Arts Program Award (National Museum of the American Indian, 2009), and a Dora Mavor Awards nomination (2012). Barbara is the Founder and Director of Women of the Four Directions (WFD), promoting Indigenous women's artistic and cultural activities. She has also served as an Advisory Board Member of the First Nations Composers' Initiative (FNCI).