An oratorio in Cree and English. For soprano, tenor, actor, chorus, and chamber ensemble (flute, oboe, percussion, violin, viola, cello, contrabass).
In this acclaimed and ground-breaking work, the first oratorio ever to be written in the Cree language, Weesageechak and Misigoo bemoan the departure of the living to the land of the dead. They travel to the magic island where the Spirits of the Dead dance by the light of the moon, held up by Atheegis the Frog. Weesageechak kills the Frog and swallows the moon. The Spirits can no longer dance; Weesageechak captures them in a basket and sets out to return to the land of the living. But the Spirits are restless, and on the long journey back they escape, one by one, from the basket. Weesageechak is the Cree incarnation of the Trickster, the central figure of Native North American mythology. His role is to teach us the pivotal lesson that we exist not to suffer, not to wallow in guilt, but to take pleasure in the simple act of living.
Libretto by Tomson Highway
- Xin Wang, soprano
- Bud Roach, tenor
- Elmer Iseler Singers
- Lydia Adams, conductor
Commissioned by Soundstreams with generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts.