August 15-17, 2014, Quails' Gate Estate Winery, West Kelowna, British Columbia Co-produced by Astrolabe Musik Theatre and Turning Point Ensemble, in collaboration with Westbank First Nation Heather Pawsey ("Susan Allison"). Photo Tim Pawsey
The Lake / n'-ha-a-itk - (l. to r.): Delphine Derickson and Heather Pawsey
Barbara Towell as Marie, Heather Pawsey as Susan Allison and Angus Bell as John Allison

World Premiere of a True-Life Canadian Opera


Sixty years after its radio debut, Barbara Pentland’s historic opera, based on the true-life story of pioneer Susan Allison’s sighting of the famous creature of the lake, “goes home” to its real life origins:  British settlers Susan and John Allison’s 1873 Sunnyside Ranch, now Quails’ Gate Winery in West Kelowna.This fully integrated evening of historical Canadian opera with contemporary syilx/Okanagan culture features music and dance created especially for this production, including the world premiere of B.C. composer Leslie Uyeda’s Incantation, based on Westbank First Nation elder, singer, teacher and story-teller Delphine Derickson’s n’-ha-a-itk song, orchestrated for Western instruments and First Nations drum.Co-produced by Astrolabe Musik and Turning Point Ensemble in collaboration with Westbank First Nation

August 15 – 17, 2014

Quails’ Gate Estate Winery (3303 Boucherie Road, West Kelowna, BC)

Angus Bell, bass-baritone, as John Allison
Jordan Coble, syilx artist
Glenn Deneault, Secwepemc Nation artist
Corinne Derickson, syilx artist
Delphine Derickson, syilx artist
Brian Kwangmin Lee, tenor, as Johnny MacDougall
Heather Pawsey, soprano, as Susan Allison
Barbara Towell, mezzo-soprano, as Marie
Reba DeGuevara, Krystal Lezard, Chayton Coble, Brock Harper and other members of Westbank First Nation


Owen Underhill, music director
James Fagan Tait, director
Mara Gottler, costume designer
Geoff Hollingshead, sound designer
Gerald King, lighting designer
Josef Chung, production manager
Sheila Munn, stage manager


The Lake – Barbara Pentland
Okanagan Song – Delphine Derickson
Strawberry Song – Delphine Derickson
n’-ha-a-itk Song – Glenn Deneault
Incantation – Leslie Uyeda  *
*  World premiere


The Lake/N-ha-a-itk: Spirits align for Ogopogo opera

The Globe and Mail – August 15, 2014

It was patriotism – and fate – that launched Heather Pawsey’s 19-year search for Ogopogo. It wasn’t Lake Okanagan’s mythical creature itself that she was after, but an opportunity to stage a Canadian opera about an Ogopogo sighting, in the actual spot where the real-life event had taken place. Written in the 1950s, that opera, titled The Lake, had never received a full production when Pawsey discovered it. [Read full article]

Cultures and history meet in The Lake/N-ha-a-itk

The Georgia Straight – August 13, 2014

It’s taken six decades for Barbara Pentland and Dorothy Livesay’s The Lake to find a home—and now that it has, no more appropriate venue could be desired. When Astrolabe Musik Theatre, the Turning Point Ensemble, and Westbank First Nation team up to present the 1952 opera’s first full staging, at West Kelowna’s Quails’ Gate Winery this weekend, it’ll be a true homecoming, for the events depicted in Livesay’s libretto took place on that very same property 140 years before. [Read the full article]

Long forgotten B.C. opera resurrected on home territory

Vancouver Sun – August 13, 2014

Even given the current wave of interest in new opera, it’s nothing short of remarkable that one of the neglected treasures of the Canadian opera patrimony — Barbara Pentland’s 1950s high modernist opus The Lake — could become the nexus of a professional production in B.C.’s Okanagan wine country. [Read full article]

Reaching back into two past Okanagan cultures

The Kelowna Daily Courier – August 12, 2014

You can’t help but think Susan Allison would be pleased if she were here today. On the idyllic slopes she named Sunnyside so long ago, beside her original log cabin, a world premiere production called The Lake/ n-ha-a-itk will be staged, bridging the cultures of historical Canadian opera and contemporary Syilx. [Read full article]

60 Year-Old Opera about Real-Life Ogopogo Sighting in West Kelowna

Kelowna Now – August 11, 2014

The true life story of an Ogopogo sighting will come to the stage Friday in West Kelowna.

Over 60 years ago Barbara Pentland composed a chamber opera called The Lake / n-ha-a-itk, which tells the story of pioneer Susan Allison who saw na-ha-a-itk (Ogopogo) in 1873 from her home in West Kelowna. [Read full article]

Ogopogo opera gets its première 62 years later Three remarkable women bring music to life

The Calgary Herald – August 8, 2014

Ogopogo opera gets its première 62 years later. Three remarkable women bring music to life

In 1995, opera singer Heather Pawsey was rummaging around the archives of the National Music Centre. She was looking for an aria to perform at the Eckhardt-Gramatte National Music Competition. One of the scores she came across in the archives wasn’t even typed. [Read full article]

Historic opera surfaces in Okanagan setting

The North Shore News – August 8, 2014

One might say it was providence that brought a little known opera to the attention of soprano Heather Pawsey. She was preparing for the Eckhardt-Gramatté National Music Competition in 1995 when The Lake literally fell into her presence. [Read full article]

The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk:  A World Premiere 60 Years in the Making

First Nations Drum – August 6, 2014

Vancouver, BC – Astrolabe Musik Theatre & Turning Point Ensemble (TPE), in collaboration with Westbank First Nation, proudly present the world premiere production of The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk – August 15-17 at Quails’ Gate Winery in Kelowna, BC, in a fully-integrated evening of historical Canadian opera and contemporary syilx culture. [Read full article]

Inventive Canadian opera companies on the move this summer
CBC Music – July 17, 2014

Running a small and nimble opera company opens the doors to some unusual collaborations that expand the reach of a production, as Vancouver’s Astrolabe Musik Theatre and Turning Point Ensemble prove in performances of Barbara Pentland’s opera The Lake this August. [Read full article]

Astrolabe Musik Theatre & Turning Point Ensemble present The Lake / n-ha-a-itk

Food and Wine Trails Magazine – July 3, 2014

A world premiere 60 Years in the making will be performed in open air at beautiful Quails’ Gate Winery this August! This is a true-life, Canadian Opera written by Barbara Pentland in the 1950’s takes place on the grounds of Quails’ Gate – the former home of Susan Allison, the heroine of this opera. [Read full article]

Schell: Story of Okanagan ancestors told on the grounds where it took place

The Kelowna Capital News – June 19, 2014

Co-producer and Canadian soprano Heather Pawsey, couldn’t be more thrilled to bring this extraordinary event to the Okanagan.  This unique story between the Allison family, who arrived here in the 1870s and whose log home still stands at Quails’ Gate, and the Westbank First Nations is magical. [Read full article]


Photo Credit: Tim Pawsey


Astrolabe Musik Theatre gratefully acknowledges the generous support of The Lake / n’-ha-a-itk by:

Deux Mille Foundation


Hamber-White-background copy sm





© 2011-2017 Astrolabe Musik Theatre All Rights Reserved -- Copyright notice by Blog Copyright