Magazine article Opera Canada

Guelph Jazz Festival

Magazine article Opera Canada

Guelph Jazz Festival

Article excerpt

To celebrate the Guelph Jazz Festival's 10th anniversary, artistic director Ajay Heble took the bold step of commissioning a full-length jazz opera from musician D. D. Jackson and librettist George Elliott Clarke, acclaimed for his libretto for Beatrice Chancy (1998). The result is Quebecite, a story about the ups and downs of two interracial couples in Quebec City. Indo-Canadian lawyer Laxmi (Kiran Ahluwalia) struggles with Haitian-Canadian architect Ovide (Haydain Neale) over his macho attitude. Black Nova Scotian singer Malcolm (Dean Bowman) and a Chinese-Canadian club-owner's daughter, Collette (Yoon Sun Choi), fall in love, but she won't tell her parents about him. Everything is resolved when they realize they are all victims of oppression, as Quebeckers are in Canada, and celebrate the "Quebecite" or "Quebecois-ness" that unites them.

How enlightening audiences will find this political-racial equation is doubtful. Indisputable is the engaging verve and variety of Jackson's music. The work is operatic only in having recitatives and songs. …

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