The representation of non-Western cultures in opera has long been a focus of critical inquiry. Within this field, the diverse relationships between opera and First Nations and Indigenous cultures, however, have received far less attention. Opera Indigene takes this subject as its focus, addressing the changing historical depictions of Indigenous cultures in opera and the more contemporary practices of Indigenous and First Nations artists. The use of 're/presenting' in the title signals an important distinction between how representations of Indigenous identity have been constructed in operatic history and how Indigenous artists have more recently utilized opera as an interface to present and develop their cultural practices.

This volume explores how operas on Indigenous subjects reflect the evolving relationships between Indigenous peoples, the colonizing forces of imperial power, and forms of internal colonization in developing nation-states. Drawing upon postcolonial theory, ethnomusicology, cultural geography and critical discourses on nationalism and multiculturalism, the collection brings together experts on opera and music in Canada, the Americas and Australia in a stimulating comparative study of operatic re/presentation.

chapter |12 pages


part I|78 pages

Critical and Comparative Contexts

chapter 1|16 pages

Orpheus Conquistador

chapter 2|26 pages

Decentering Opera

Early Twenty-First-Century Indigenous Production

chapter 3|16 pages

“Singing from The Margins”

Postcolonial Themes in Voss and Waiting for the Barbarians

part II|65 pages

Australian Perspectives

chapter 5|22 pages

“To Didj or Not to Didj”

Exploring Indigenous Representation in Australian Music Theater Works by Margaret Sutherland and Andrew Schultz

chapter 7|16 pages

The Eighth Wonder

Explorations of Place and Voice

part III|51 pages

Indianism in the Americas

chapter 8|14 pages

Indianismo in Brazilian Romantic Opera

Shifting Ideologies of National Foundation

chapter 10|22 pages

Composed and Produced in the American West, 1912–1913

Two Operatic Portrayals of First Nations Cultures

part IV|67 pages

Canadian Perspectives

chapter 11|20 pages

Assimilation, Integration and Individuation

The Evolution of First Nations Musical Citizenship in Canadian Opera

chapter 12|14 pages

“Too Much White Man In It”

Aesthetic Colonization in Tzinquaw

chapter 13|14 pages

Peaceful Surface, Monstrous Depths

Barbara Pentland and Dorothy Livesay's The Lake

chapter 14|18 pages

The Politics of Genre

Exposing Historical Tensions in Harry Somers's Louis Riel

part V|59 pages

New Creation and Collaborative Processes

chapter 15|16 pages

Creating Pimooteewin

chapter 16|14 pages

After McPhee

Evan Ziporyn's A House in Bali

chapter 17|16 pages

West Coast First Peoples and The Magic Flute

Tracing the Journey of a Cross-Cultural Collaboration

chapter 18|12 pages

Pecan Summer

The Process of Making New Indigenous Opera in Australia