Thursday April 20, 2017

A new production of Louis Riel challenges Canadians to look more deeply into Indigenous history

The popular opera Louis Riel is returning, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company, for this year's Canada 150 celebrations.

The popular opera Louis Riel is returning, courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company, for this year's Canada 150 celebrations. (Courtesy of the Canadian Opera Company)

Listen 16:05

The opera Louis Riel first premiered back in 1967, when it was commissioned for Canada's centennial. A lot has changed in 50 years and when Louis Riel returns in a new production for Canada 150 tonight at Toronto's Four Seasons Centre, there will be one notable update. 

While the original opera had very little input from Indigenous voices, this version makes sure to rectify that. The production stays faithful to the original script but, by adding Indigenous people and their voices and perspectives, it's the hope of cast members Jani Lauzon and Justin Many Fingers that the audience will challenge what they are seeing onstage. 

Jani Lauzon and Justin Many Fingers

Jani Lauzon and Justin Many Fingers, from the Canadian Opera Company's new production of Louis Riel, in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Melody Lau/CBC)

"This will hopefully start a new precedent," Lauzon adds. "What this does, in terms of our intersection and ability to be on that stage, is to show our youth that it's possible to have those kinds of dreams." 

For more information about the Canadian Opera Company's new production of Louis Riel, head over to their website.

— Produced by Jean Kim