In our 19-20 Season, the HPO is proud to commission three original pieces from Canadian composers. The first of these pieces is The Mermaid and the Fisherman by Abigail Richardson-Schulte, HPO’s Composer-in-Residence, which receives its world premiere at our 19-20 Opening Night concert.
The Mermaid and the Fisherman tells the story of a woman, Moira, and her husband, the fisherman. Their story is one that transcends reality, beginning with the challenging life of those in the fishing community and moves into a magical realm after a storm threatens to take the fisherman’s life.
The piece has several artistic voices. Librettist Phoebe Tsang, a self-described wordsmith and violinist, wrote the text based on a legend she remembered hearing in her youth. HPO Principal Trumpet Michael Fedyshyn is a featured soloist representing the role of the fisherman. Soprano Stacie Dunlop sings Tsang’s words as the character Moira. Richardson-Schulte noted the initial challenge of integrating trumpet and soprano and determining what kind of story they could tell together.
“Our intention is for the fisherman (Michael Fedyshyn) to start playing off stage, as if calling to Moira/Stacie from out at sea. He eventually joins her centre stage where the two unite when he comes home from his fishing expedition,” said Richardson-Schulte of what patrons can expect from the live performance of the piece.
Richardson-Schulte is in her eighth season as HPO’s Composer-in-Residence. She has composed many well-received works including the music for the beloved story, The Hockey Sweater, which has been performed across the country. When composing, she dives deep into the imagined minds of the characters and emotions she is portraying.
This piece, like all of our Opening Night repertoire, is inspired by nature. Richardson-Schulte cites her time spent walking her dogs on trails in and around Dundas as essential creative thinking time.
“Morning walks leave me ready to start writing right away,” She says of her workdays. “Trail walks are such a regular part of my day that they have evolved to become an important part of the way I work.” Read our previous blog about our favourite natural spaces in Hamilton to see Richardson-Schulte’s favourite nature trail!
Opening Night is approaching quickly! Purchase your tickets and be there to see the world premiere of Richardson-Schulte’s magical piece!