Hadani Ditmars
Hadani Ditmars is the author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone: a Woman’s Journey Through Iraq and the Vancouver Wallpaper City Guide.

A former editor at New Internationalist, her cultural and political commentaries have been published in the Guardian, the New York Times and Vogue and broadcast on the CBC and BBC.

Hadani’s next book Ancient Heart is a political travelogue of ancient sites in Iraq.


Entries by Hadani Ditmars

Oh What A Circus: An American Version Of Evita

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2016 | 11:58 AM

With the strains of Don't Cry for Me Argentina still fresh in my mind from Vancouver Opera's production of Evita, I am re-imagining the seminal 70's rock opera with a whole new American cast.

Since Evita is really a morality play about unbridled political ambition and...

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Butterfly In Baghdad And Other U.S. Dramas: A Night At The Pre-Election Opera

(0) Comments | Posted March 10, 2016 | 3:12 PM

One of the most exquisite moments in Vancouver Opera's Madame Butterfly is the Second Act scene where the giddy heroine covers her home in cherry blossoms in anticipation of Pinkerton's return, only to discover his betrayal.


Its emotional resonance...

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Stephen Harper and the Death of Canadian Culture

(14) Comments | Posted October 9, 2015 | 5:27 PM

Opening night of Vancouver Opera's Rigoletto was supposed to be a brief mental respite from the relentless electioneering of a nation mere weeks away from a momentous decision.

But the whole experience proved more resonant than one might expect.

With Vancouver Opera itself in sticky financial circumstances --...

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A Night at the Opera with Harper: Die Fledermaus and Masked Avengers

(0) Comments | Posted March 6, 2015 | 3:12 PM


I wonder if any judge in late 19th-century Vienna ever asked a woman to remove her mask? And what exactly is Prime Minister Harper's position on masked balls, those dens of iniquity where identities are disguised and potential terror...

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Seduction and Abandonment: Don Giovanni As a Model for U.S. Foreign Policy

(0) Comments | Posted March 4, 2014 | 10:54 AM

As I took in the opening night of Vancouver Opera's Don Giovanni on the weekend, I realized there was something vaguely familiar about the libertine protagonist.

The unrepentant sociopath whose conquests number in the thousands and who remains indifferent to the pain and suffering he's caused, didn't just...

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Take This Waltz for 2014 and Make the NSA Learn to Dance

(0) Comments | Posted January 6, 2014 | 5:06 PM

My suggested New Year's resolution for 2014? Let's spend less time spying on each other and more time waltzing.

I came to this profound conclusion at the annual Salute to Vienna - a pure unadulterated celebration of schmaltz- where the waltz is elevated to true cult status, and...

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We are All Albert Herring

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 3:33 PM

In this centenary year of composer Benjamin Britten, I recall my first exposure to his complex, beautiful and technically challenging music.

I was a 13-year-old alto - taller and darker than almost everyone in the rather waspy West Vancouver high school choir- given the somewhat daunting task of singing the...

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Who Said Vancouver Was Drama-Free? Tosca Proves the Opposite

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2013 | 8:02 AM

Vancouver Opera's Tosca is a true celebration of life.

Despite the unhappy ending that all opera lovers know, there is such unbridled passion, joy and humour -- not to mention some really fabulous costumes -- in this Joseph McClain directed production, that on opening night the fate of...

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Bulletins From Immortality: Freeing Emily Dickinson

(0) Comments | Posted October 25, 2013 | 4:39 PM

The body of Margie Gillis is an interpretive canvas. Emotions spill out like colours as she quivers through her dance, alive with joy and sorrow, pain and power, imbued with the full palette of life.

She makes her art look so natural, as if she were a woman simply dancing...

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Love in the Time of Ephemera - a Singleton's Conversation with God

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 11:50 AM

Scene I -- late at night on a laptop near you...a 40 something woman is typing...

OK God, (or Facebook, or the NSA, or same thing maybe?) OK, so here's the thing... I think I've really "done" the whole poverty, chastity and obedience (well...) thing...and basically I'd like the next...

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Foster Eastman's Great Leap Forward: The Cultural Revolution Revisited

(1) Comments | Posted August 14, 2013 | 5:56 PM

Foster Eastman was born in the year of the Great Leap Forward.

1958 was the beginning of the economic and social campaign by the Communist Party of China that aimed to transform a largely agrarian economy into a communist society through rapid industrialization and collectivization. The campaign led...

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Oh Canada: A Fabulist's Guide to Patriotic Dating

(0) Comments | Posted July 12, 2013 | 11:58 AM

This is a story that begins at an absinthe tasting, and ends with bad hippy dancing, halfhearted fireworks and an absent national anthem.

It is not for the faint of heart and contains many middle-aged references.

It all transpired over the Canada Day weekend in our nation's third largest...

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Tea - a Mirror of the Soul Speaks to Vancouver's Spiritual Possibilities

(0) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 2:20 PM

For a city by the sea -- a port town that enthusiastically believes in its own "world-class" status -- Vancouver is a shockingly segregated place, a study in emphatic delineations.

Despite half its population being Asian, its neighbourhoods remain suburban enclaves as opposed to metropolitan melting pots.

And local...

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Will Millennials Ever Love the Waltz?

(2) Comments | Posted January 4, 2013 | 4:12 PM

Since the world didn't end on Dec. 21, I found myself once again taking in the annual Salute to Vienna New Year's concert at Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre.

As I waltzed into 2013 with an audience composed mainly of those born in earlier, pre-digital, mobile phone and reality TV...

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Singing for Syria and Gaza

(1) Comments | Posted December 5, 2012 | 11:00 PM

The other day I found myself in a 100-year-old Anglican Church in Vancouver, in a place called rather fittingly, the Sanctuary.

At St. Mark's, the sanctuary, with its vaulted ceilings and exquisite acoustics is sought after by musicians as a performance space, and today was no exception.


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Why Gilbert and Sullivan Are More Relevant Than Ever

(0) Comments | Posted December 4, 2012 | 4:52 PM

Could the time be ripe for a Gilbert and Sullivan revival?

After taking in Vancouver Opera's opening night of The Pirates of Penzance, I am inclined to say yes.

What's that you say? Gilbert and Sullivan and their famous Savoy operas are the height of sentimental, bourgeois entertainment.

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Far Side of the Moon Still Rings True

(0) Comments | Posted November 9, 2012 | 4:09 PM

Watching Robert Lepage perform his seminal work The Far Side of the Moon in Vancouver last night, was an exercise in nostalgia.

The play, that eloquently poses the question "are we alone?" by juxtaposing the space race with one man's quiet individual and familial struggles, pits the vastness...

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Vancouver Opera's La Boheme Reminds me of My Paris Days

(4) Comments | Posted October 27, 2012 | 12:33 PM

Warning: before you take in the final performance of Vancouver Opera's La Boheme, some Prozac may be required.

It demands a certain sang froid to not emerge rather melancolique after two hours of Puccini's moving opera -- sung convincingly by a talented young cast -- about the joy...

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Music Helps me Imagine a Better World

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2012 | 12:58 PM

After a week of watching images of Ahmedinejad being interviewed by Piers Morgan -- surreal at best -- Netanyahu offering the UN a scarily cartoonish version of his worldview, and Romney spouting war-mongering malaprops, I took refuge in music.

Thank God for Vancouver's

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Egypt's Revolution: A Tragedy of Operatic Proportions

(1) Comments | Posted April 29, 2012 | 12:07 AM

Unlike the tragic heroine herself, who meets an untimely end buried alive in a tomb, Aida the opera is nothing if not a survivor.

Giuseppe Verdi's enduring work, commissioned by Khedive Ismail in an era of Suez Canal, inspired nationalist fervour. First staged in 1871, it has been revived...

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