“Shanawdithit VR: Exploration of Indigenous Opera in Immersive Media” presented by Trommer and Choi


Presentation Title:

  • Shanawdithit VR: Exploration of Indigenous Opera in Immersive Media



  • Shanawdithit VR” is a six-minute remix of “Shanawdithit” created by the acclaimed Algonquin playwright Yvette Nolan and the celebrated composer Dean Burry. A collaboration between York University graduate students (Sarah Choi, Racelar Ho, and Michael Trommer), Indigenous artists (Aria Evans and Marion Newman), and Tapestry Opera, it is inspired by the drawings and writings by Shanawdithit, the last surviving member of the Beothuk. “Shanawdithit VR” features mezzo-soprano Marion Newman (Kwaiulth and Stó:lo) singing the chorus of one of her arias: “How can I sing to descendants I will never have?” In a way, this film is a response to her anguish-laden cry – our generation’s acknowledgment of the painful, forgotten history of the original caretakers of our land – that we do hear her song, today. In this way, the VR project does not only offer a new visceral way to experience opera and dance, but also reach a wider audience who may not already be familiar with Shanawdithit’s story.