Sanctuary & Storm

World Premiere
Nov 17-19 2023

World Premiere opens IndieFest 2023
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Sanctuary & Storm premiered Nov 17-19 2023 at the HR MacMillan Space Centre.

Embark on a celestial journey with Sanctuary & Storm, an award-winning opera by composer Tawnie Olson and librettist Roberta Barker. This immersive performance features the powerful confrontation between medieval luminaries, Hildegard of Bingen and Eleanor of Aquitaine, and unveils a timely discourse on power, respect, and liberation. Guided by the ethereal Angel of History, the opera explores the cyclical dance of history and the shared struggle towards a common goal.

Celebrated as the winner of the 2021-2023 National Opera Association’s Dominick Argento Chamber Opera Award, Sanctuary & Storm makes its world premiere at IndieFest 2023 November 17th-19th. In a unique collaboration with Vancouver Opera and the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, this extraordinary operatic experience probes the depth of human resilience, the complexity of power, and the cyclical dance of history. Sanctuary & Storm pays homage to the late Diane Murray Barker, whose memory continues to inspire and resonate within the soul of this opera.

Cast & Creative Team


Mireille Asselin (she/her)
– Eleanor of Aquitaine (Soprano)
Dashon Burton (he/him) – Angel of History (Baritone)
Marion Newman (she/her) –  Hildegard of Bingen (Mezzo Soprano)


Tawnie Olson (she/her)
– Composer
Roberta Barker (she/her)  – Librettist
Arianne Abela (she/her) – Conductor
Perri Lo (she/her) – Assistant Music Director
Sheree Spencer (she/her) – Stage Director
Mily Mumford (they/them) – Projection Designer
Will Selviz (he/him) – Creative Consultant
Shannon Tauber (they/them) – Costume Designer
Nicole Lamb (she/her) – Lighting Designer
Rachel E. Ross (they/them) – Stage Manager
Stephanie Wong (she/they) – Co-Producer
Debi Wong (she/her) – Artistic Director, Creator


Jae-Won Bang (she/her) – Concertmaster/Violin 1
Rebecca Ruthven (she/her) – Violin 2
Tawnya Popoff (she/her) – Viola
Minjee Yoon (she/her) – Cello
Tina Chang (she/her) – Piano
Mark Haney (he/him) – Double Bass
Michelle Goddard (she/her) – Clarinet
Robin Reid (she/her) – Percussionist

For Vancouver Opera:
Tom Wright  (he/him) – General Director
Ashley Daniel Foot (he/him) – Partnerships, Engagement, and EDI

Technical/Production Support: Vancouver Opera Production

Sanctuary & Storm is a co-presentation between Vancouver Opera & re:Naissance Opera, presented at the H.R. MacMillan Space Centre.


H.R. MacMillan Space Centre, Star Theatre
Located in: Vanier Park
Address: 1100 Chestnut St, Vancouver, BC V6J 3J9