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Opera makes world premiere in Nelson, B.C.

03/08/2012 05:55 EST | Updated 05/08/2012 05:12 EDT

An opera that has been funded, produced, conceived and composed in Nelson, B.C., makes its world premiere Thursday night.

The 2.5-hour production Khaos: the opera was commissioned in 2009 by Nelson's Amy Ferguson Institute and written by composer Don Macdonald.

"It's probably the most difficult I've done. And we'll see if I ever do it again. But it's been a great journey," said Macdonald.

The show re-imagines the Greek myth of Persephone and Demeter, with an environmental theme. It's a combination that works in an arty, eco-conscious city like Nelson, said stage director and lyricist Nicola Harwood.

"Well, Nelson is an enclave and we're quite isolated and we tend to make our own fun here and this is a manifestation of that," said Harwood.

"I think that the normal is to be abnormal, here," she said with a laugh. "So part of the charm of this place is nothing is too weird and wonderful to give it a go."

The cast is composed of volunteers, but most have experience on stage.

The institute raised $150,000 to produce the opera. Producer and primary fundraiser Marty Horswill said locals were on board from the start, and the money they donated amounts to an average of five dollars for every man, woman and child in the small Kootenay city.

"You know it’s a dream that I don’t believe any of us really believed would happen and here we are," Horswill said.

The show runs March 8 to 10 at Nelson's Capitol Theatre, before touring Cranbrook, Trail, Grand Forks and Creston in the spring.

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