***NOMINATED FOR TWO 2017 JUNO AWARDS***
– BEST CLASSICAL COMPOSITION
– BEST CLASSICAL ALBUM: VOCAL OR CHORAL
Dark Star Requiem came to be after a commission from the Luminato Festival and Tapestry New Opera. The work premiered in 2010 at the Luminato festival in Koerner Hall, Toronto, Canada. The work is an operatic oratorio with music by composer Andrew Staniland and text by poet Jill Battson. It is scored for four singers, piano trio, percussion, and chorus. The topic of all of the poems in the work used is HIV/AIDS and how it affects the lives and worlds of those who live with the disease or love someone living with the disease.
Dark Star Requiem is at once intended to be challenging and joyous, complex and beautiful. A sequence of 19 poems charting a short history of HIV AIDS unfolds over the course of 14 musical movements. The poems vary stylistically from linked haikus, to ghazals, to praise poems and back to free verse. The musical movements are unified through a haunting melody and driving rhythm derived from the numbers attributed to HIV-1 and HIV-2 by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses: 00.061.1.06.009. and 00.061.1.06.010. In musical terms these numbers are interpreted in both melody and rhythm.