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    Left: Joy Kogawa and Ramona Luengen | Right: Judith Forst

Naomi’s Road

OPERA

Naomi’s Road
Duration: 45:00  |  2005
An opera for young audiences based on Joy Kogawa’s novel, Naomi’s Road
For four singers [soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, bass] and piano
Music by Ramona Luengen; Libretto by Ann Hodges
Commissioned by Vancouver Opera for the 2005–2006 Opera in the Schools Programme
Dedicated to Judith Forst

 
 
SYNOPSIS

Naomi’s Road, which details a young Japanese-Canadian girl’s experiences as her family is interned during World War II, is a coming-of-age story that celebrates the power of hope, cultural understanding and compassion. This compelling and emotional story is taken from one of our country’s most painful and complex social periods, a time that for many years was not discussed in our schools.

This touching, instructive opera, set during World War II, tells the dramatic story of nine-year old Naomi’s journey, with her Japanese Canadian family, from Vancouver to an internment camp in the interior of B.C. Naomi and her older brother Stephen struggle with the harshness of war, racism, bullying and loss of family. Ultimately brother and sister triumph over their fears and discover the gifts that sustain them: music, words and love. Their resilience of spirit offers hope for the future and will lead audiences to discover the power of understanding and the beauty of compassion.
 

REVIEWS

It’s a story that evokes a sadness and shame specific to our part of the world, while simultaneously imparting hope and joy to the millions of children and teenagers who have read it. It’s a story that lends itself perfectly to the dramatic nature of opera.
— Vancouver Sun

Naomi’s Road is a fantastic tool, not just for education but for healing people.
— Joy Kogawa, author

Prologue: Naomi

Bully Scene: Naomi, Stephen, Bully, Mitzi

Finale: Naomi, Stephen, Obasan, Trainmaster

Music excerpts recorded at CBC Studio One, Vancouver, Canada, April 2005.
Singers: Jessica Cheung, Grace Chan, Sam Chung and Krysztof Biernacki | Pianist: David Boothroyd
Music Director: Leslie Uyeda | Recording Engineer: Don Harder | Producer: Karen Wilson
Reproduction is prohibited.