Don't miss: Naomi's Road Photo courtesy of Tapestry Opera.

Don't miss: Naomi's Road

Jenna Simeonov

From November 16-20 at St. David’s Anglican Church, Tapestry Opera presents Naomi’s Road, by Ramona Luengen and Ann Hodges, based on the novel by Joy Kogawa. Set in Vancouver during WWII, the opera tells the story of Japanese-Canadian Naomi, a young girl who journeys to an internment camp in British Columbia. It recalls muted events in Canadian history, and Tapestry Opera’s Michael Hidetoshi Mori directs.

We spoke with Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga, who sings the role of Naomi in this Tapestry Opera production.

What does this opera have to say about xenophobia and racism in the context of Canadian history?

I believe that often some people think that Canada has a pure history and that it has been untouched by things like racism. Many don’t realize that we have a dark past and have often tried to hide the details from the general public. I believe this opera is trying to educate Canadians young and old about the important events that happened in our history, so that past mistakes do not reoccur.

What do you find most appealing or moving about this opera?

One of the most beautiful things about this opera is that, despite the family being completely separated and the children being torn away from their parents, they seem to create a secure and loving family unit finding a way to stay together and remain strong against adversity.

Are there any particular challenges with portraying a young girl?

I find that the hardest part of playing a child is being naïve and simple. As adults we are so accustomed to living everyday dramatic, intense and sometimes complicated situations and tend to forget that as children, life is quite simple and they live completely in the moment.

Hiather Darnel-Kadonaga, soprano. Photo courtesy of Tapestry Opera.

What do you hope audiences will hear or take away from the performances of Naomi’s Road?

Often when I speak about this work, many people are not aware of all the events during the Second World War. So I hope that, if anything, people will know more about Canadian history. I hope that people will be inspired by Japanese culture and find out more about it. Especially with what is currently going on around the world, I hope that this opera will inspire us all to keep a world free of racism and inspire equality.

I also hope that Naomi’s Road will help revive opera and inspire our audiences to revisit or discover opera anew and come support the arts.

Naomi’s Road plays November 16-20 at St. David’s Anglican Church, 49 Donlands Ave. For full details and ticket information, click here.

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