FEATURE INTERVIEW | A Cape Breton Summer: The Bells Of Baddeck – By Joseph So on June 28, 2016
Soprano/Voice Teacher/Librettist/Producer Lorna MacDonald talks about her labour of love.
The Alexander Graham and Mabel Bell Story — A Music-Drama; July 2 — August 2, 2016. Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site, Baddeck, Nova Scotia. www.bellsofbaddeck.com
One of the happiest occasions for residents and visitors of Nova Scotia’s Cape Breton Island this summer is the return of the quintessentially Canadian opera, The Bells of Baddeck. With music composed by Dean Burry and a libretto by soprano/Cape Breton native Lorna MacDonald, it premiered last summer to critical and audience acclaim. Now it’s back for a second season, with the same creative team and roster of artists. It opens on July 2 for a total of 21 performances, to take place on the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The revival is extra special, as MacDonald has arranged “Bell Chats,” a pre-curtain feature on some of the performance dates, to be given by descendants of the Bells, including their great-grandson and great-grand daughter.
Another important event is a special benefit performance on July 8th where the entire proceeds of the evening will be donated to the United Way of Cape Breton towards its program to end child poverty in the region. “Thirty percent of children on the Island live in poverty, and that’s a conservative number. If I can be part of a group that gives back to children of my home island, I’d want to do that. Mabel and Alec were motivators for social change, so this is very much in keeping with their spirit.” Earlier this month, The Bells of Baddeck received the Parks Canada CEO Award of Excellence (Visitor Experience Category), in recognition of its contribution to the region, in a ceremony held in Gatineau, Quebec. This opera attracted music fans and history buffs near and far to Cape Breton Island last summer. The Island was front and centre, showcased to the world this beautiful part of Canada, the warmth of its people, its natural beauty, and its rich cultural history.