Back in April, I was invited to participate in Opera from Scratch, hosted by Vocalypse Productions in Halifax. The workshop will be taking place in August, but currently I am in the midst of writing the piece for the workshop. Each selected composer must write a work centred on a piece of Nova Scotian history or folklore. For my piece, I decided to write about the Shag Harbour UFO sighting from 1967.
UFOs and aliens have been on my brain as of late. My mom recalled a story of her seeing a UFO with my grandfather back in the 1970s when I was visiting at Christmas. Her parents lived on a farm just outside of Sackville, New Brunswick. The story intrigued me because I hadn’t really heard her talk about it before. What intrigued me more was the dream that she had the night she saw the strange flying object.
When selecting a subject for this opera, I thought back to the UFO sighting my mom had described. I began to search for a similar sighting in Nova Scotia, and discovered the Shag Harbour incident. It was so fascinating to me. But I knew I didn’t just want to recount the events of that night. I wanted to include something creative as well. I decided to add in my mom’s dream, but with some modifications for dramatic effect.
It was also interesting to write my own libretto. I fear I may have overcompensated, having thought I wouldn’t have enough material for a ten-minute piece. But looking at it now, I realize I wrote too much. It’s been interesting knowing where to cut things, and I’m glad that I’m the sole creator of the text and can cut away as I please. I’m keeping my favourite parts, though.
The piece should be finished soon. After that, it may be time to start working on a secret project again…