The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs
The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs
Composed by Serouj Kradjian | Libretto by Marjorie Chan
June 9 – 11, 2023
Lyric Theatre, Meridian Arts Centre | 5040 Yonge St, North York, ON
To Live. To Thrive. To Heal.
The Canadian Children’s Opera Company proudly announces the return of its annual main stage production with our latest commission, The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, based on a beloved Armenian folk tale, by Juno award-winning composer Serouj Kradjian and Dora award-winning playwright and librettist Marjorie Chan. The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs, the latest new opera in the CCOC’s long history of new commissioned works, follows the journey of two siblings, Leah and Ari, as they emerge from a tragedy in their homeland. The children embark on an adventure to find the Nightingale of a Thousand Songs to bring back life and joy to their world. Along the way, they remember their lost friends and family and face many challenges and obstacles. The story is one of healing and hope, and exploring what it means to be able to move on from a terrible event. The opera represents the rich culture and music that unites the Caucasus & the Middle East. As the lead characters travel from the plains of Mount Ararat, through the region to Lebanon, the music changes to reflect a more distinct Arabic style, incorporating traditional instruments and texts.
Performed by over 80 choristers in the CCOC’s Principal, Youth, Intermediate, and Apprentices choruses and a professional chamber orchestra. Appropriate for ages 7 and up.
Performance and Ticket Information
Duration: Approximately 65 minutes without intermission.
June 9, 2023 – 10 a.m. and 1 p.m.
June 9, 2023 – 7:30 p.m. Opening Night
June 10, 2023 – 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
June 11, 2023 – 3 p.m.
Casting note: Leah and Ari will be played by:
Alice Malakhov and Sophie Mestetchkin – June 9 at 10 a.m. & 7:30 p.m., June 10 at 3 p.m.
Katie Lair and Joel Glickman Rosen on June 9 at 1 p.m., June 10 at 7:30 p.m. and June 11 at 3 p.m.
Public Performances*: Adult – $43 | Senior/Artsworker – $32 | Youth (18 years and younger)/School & Community Groups – $26^
Student Previews* (school groups only): $15/student/additional chaperone ticket
The CCOC is pleased to provide one teacher/chaperone ticket for every 5 students booked. Additional chaperone tickets can be purchased for $15/chaperone.
Tickets will go onsale on March 7, 2023 at 2 p.m. For more information regarding student group tickets for the school previews, please contact the TO Live Box Office at 416-366-7723 | 1-800-708-6754.
*Includes taxes. Excludes service fees.
^School & Community Groups which serve young people (music schools, children’s choirs, etc.) are eligible to purchase group tickets (min. of 10) to public performances with each student ticket costing $26 plus applicable fees. The CCOC is pleased to provide one teacher/chaperone ticket for every 5 youth tickets purchased. Additional chaperone tickets can be purchased for $26/chaperone. All youth tickets must be used by young people 18 and younger.
A terrible storm wracks the land, leaving siblings Ari and Leah to wander, lost, hungry and alone. Exhausted, they stumble across the tiniest of orchards, sheltered by a mountain’s embrace, and meet three wise trees who advise them of a way to peace. They must find three things – a Golden Fountain, the Harmony Tree, and lastly, the Nightingale of A Thousand Songs. They are each gifted stones which show the Wheel of Eternity; as long as it moves, one knows that the other is safe. Ari wants to leave immediately, but Leah wants to write down the names of children lost before she forgets. Leah and Ari bicker, as siblings do, with each believing the other to be wrong. Ari sets off, past deserts and rivers and mountains, until he finally meets the old Hermits whose hair covers every part of their bodies. Ari begins to trim all the hair, and eventually frees the Hermits who point him in the right direction, but give him a warning about the Dark Invisible and the Land of Stones. He cautions that Ari must not look back, or he, too will turn into a black rock forever. But the Dark Invisible taunts him and Ari is sure he hears his sister. He turns around, and in that moment, he freezes and turns into stone. Meanwhile, Leah notices a change in the Wheel of Eternity. She fears for her brother’s life and in spite of her fear, sets out in search of him. She too, travels past deserts and rivers until she also encounters the Hermits. Watched by the clouds, she climbs through the Dark Invisible, undeterred. When she struggles, the fog steps in to comfort her and gives her encouragement so she can move forward. Leah makes it past the rocks and to the top of the mountain, where she finds the Nightingale in a Golden Cage, along with the Harmony Tree, and the Golden Fountain. Leah frees the bird, but the Nightingale is still fearful of her own song. She convinces the Nightingale to use her power of song to rescue the Lost Children in the Rocks. The Nightingale, after being trapped for millennia finds her own courage and sings a glorious song to end all songs – and one by one, the rocks awaken one by one and reveal all the lost children. Among them, Leah finds Ari and they have a happy reunion. The Nightingale, Leah and Ari and all the children return to the orchard, where the waters of the fountain flow, where the harmony tree shelters. But they are not completely at peace, as they are still missing many of the Lost people. The Lady Trees explain that peace and moving forward is possible, but some things like the Storm cannot be undone. The Nightingale encourages them to look to love and to each other, where healing is possible and life can move on and where joy and peace can thrive once again.
Artistic and Creative Team
Creative and Cultural Director
The Nightingale of a Thousand Songs Donors and Supporters
Production – Major Supporters
Production – Supporters
Mary-Margaret Webb Foundation
Hamazkayin Armenian Educational & Cultural Society
Tony and Anne Arrell
Jung-Hye is a Toronto based set and costume designer. Her other design credits include Hamlet-911 (Stratford Festival), An Imm-Permanent Resident (Why Not Theatre), Hilot Means Healer (Cahoots Theatre), Dry Powder (Evermore Theatre), Now You See Her (Quote Unquote Collective, Dora nomination for outstanding costume design), Shirley Valentine (Thousand Islands Playhouse), Prairie Nurse (Factory Theatre), Flying Heart (set-Theatre Direct), Kiss (Theatre Smash), Snow Queen (Theatre New Brunswick), Tideline (Hart House Theatre and Canadian Rep Theatre), Das Ding (costume-Theatre Smash), Armstrong’s War (costume-Canadian Rep Theatre), Durango (Fu-gen theatre and Theatre Smash), Small Axe (Project Humanity and The Theatre Centre), Minotaur (set-YPT), Pacamambo (costume-Canadian Rep Theatre), Passion Play (set-Outside the March, Convergence Theatre and Sheep No Wool Production), Boblo (Kitchenband Production and The Theatre Centre, Dora nomination for outstanding set design).
Creative and Cultural Director
Amy (Shaghig) Kazandjian is an Armenian-Canadian visual artist and content creator based in Berlin. Her diverse creative expressions explore the realms of performance, art, literature, education, and advocacy, in intersecting ways.
Her artwork combines traditional Armenian heritage symbols with contemporary style. Her illustrations have appeared in children’s books, poetry collections, and book covers, and her custom art commissions and prints have been ordered in over 25 countries. She was Cultural Editor for a Penguin Randomhouse best-selling novel, “Sorry, Bro”, an Armenian queer rom-com novel (2023) recently reviewed in the New York Times Magazine.
Amy’s online presence of over 12.4K followers, has allowed her to engage with audiences around the world and cultivate connections between the global Armenian diaspora identity and language. Through digital storytelling, Amy’s comedic and informative videos have gained over 10 million views.
In addition, Amy is an accomplished pianist, french horn player, and conductor, and previously worked in the TDSB as a high school teacher for 7 years. Amy is honoured to join the CCOC as Creative and Cultural Director for the production of The Nightingale of A Thousand Songs.
Kristin is a Toronto based stage manager who works in opera, theatre, and live events. Select credits include: Pinocchio, Seussical, Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang, James and the Giant Peach, Annie, Cinderella and A Year With Frog and Toad (YPT), Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera On the Avalon); Romeo & Juliet/A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Canadian Stage); Apocalypsis (Luminato Festival- ASM); Airline Icarus (Soundstreams); as well as, 20 seasons with the Canadian Opera Company, including, as assistant stage manager: Fantasma, Carmen, Turandot, Eugene Onegin, The Nightingale & Other Short Fables, Madama Butterfly, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Handmaid’s Tale and Die Walkure as part of the Ring Cycle that opened the Four Seasons Centre.
Sequoia Erickson likes making things: from reindeer tails, to shadow puppets, to tutus and giant garbage cans. A strong belief in the power of the extraordinary compels her to be constantly searching for unusual and visually creative ways to tell stories. Her most recent credits include: Costume Designer, Heathers, St. Clair College (2023); Producer, Light & Shadow (Video Game), Steam (2022); Stitcher, Mean Girls: The Musical, Mirvish (2022); Production Coordinator, As You Like It, Canadian Stage (2022); General Manager, Shadowland Theatre (2019-2022).
Sequoia is currently a Costume Member of IATSE 873, a freelance Stilt Walker, and a graduate of the Performance Production program at Toronto Metropolitan University.
Remington North is a theatre practitioner based out of Toronto, ON. Aside from Remington’s work as a venue Technical Director, opening The Theatre Centre in 2013 and The Streetcar Crowsnest in 2017 he has had the pleasure of working with many of the city’s wonderful non-venued companies like the CCOC, Necessary Angel, Volcano Theatre, Against The Grain Theatre, Outside the March, Bad Hats Theatre, Pleiades Theatre and many others.