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Leonie Brodie Returns To New Zealand

Leonie Brodie Returns To New Zealand

Ulla's Odyssey is her second collaboration with New Zealand composer Anthony Young. They met in Toronto, during Tapestry New Opera Works' acclaimed Composer-Librettist Laboratory, fondly known as the Liblab, which artistic director Wayne Strongman describes as "opera boot camp meets speed dating service."

Their first work together THE ANGLE OF REFLECTION, premiered in 2009 with the Auckland Philharmonic in association with New Zealand Opera. This short monodrama for soprano and orchestra told the story of a fretful mother whose baby has been born blind. Leonie and Anthony then wanted to explore opera for young audiences and the result is Ulla’s Odyssey. Leonie was supported by the Ontario Arts Council's Theatre Creator's Reserve, and the Toronto company Theatre Direct, while Anthony bravely decided to bash through a draft of the piece and enter it into the Opera Factory's Chamber Opera Composition competition.

Ulla is inspired by sailing. It is a tribute to the young people who have sailed solo around the globe in recent years, many of whom have a New Zealand connection, such as Jessica Watson and Laura Dekker... whatever one may feel about the wisdom of these voyages and the parenting involved, they hold undeniable appeal as a metaphor for the rites of passage that are an intrinsic part of teenage life... they also wanted to explore the mythic dimension of the sailor alone on the sea by turning to the most iconic sailing tale of them all: Homer's The Odyssey. Only this time, the heroine of the piece is firmly at the helm instead of pining on the shore! There are modern and often ecologically-significant equivalents of Homer's mighty sea monsters: the Cyclops, the Sirens, Scylla and Charibdis... and the fearsome whirlpool of Homer's tale is now the great toxic gyre of the world's plastic trash, known as the Pacific Garbage Vortex... with the added twist that you can hear it roar!

Bibliography for Leonie Brodie:

Leanna Brodie is an actor, writer, and translator whose plays For Home and Country, The Vic, Schoolhouse, and novel The Book of Esther (Talonbooks) and have been published and performed across Canada. She has written radio dramas including Invisible City and Seeds of Our Destruction and twice been Playwright-in-Residence at the Blyth Festival and 4th Line Theatre.

Her translations include Sébastien Harrisson’s From Alaska (selected as the first project of the Quebec Translation Exchange between CEAD and the Banff Centre for the Arts); Hélène Ducharme’s Baobab and Tiger by the Tail; Larry Tremblay’s Panda Panda; Philippe Soldevila’s Tales of the Moon; and Louise Bombardier’s My Mother Dog (Playwrights Canada Press). Théâtre Motus has toured their acclaimed production of Baobab throughout the United States and Canada.

Brodie’s writing often explores themes of exclusion, community, and the rural/urban divide, with a strong focus on the voices of women. Upcoming: Reap the Whirlwind, about the wind power controversies raging through rural communities (to be produced by Lighthouse Festival Theatre, Blyth Festival, and the 4th Line Theatre in 2014-15); The Angel’s Cradle, about mothers who abandon their children; and a translation of Catherine Léger’s Opium_37, set in the Bohemian Paris of Anaïs Nin and June Miller.


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