HOWL was a suite of three mini-operas performed by Janice Isabel Jackson in 8 performances between May 2nd and 12th, 2013, in co-production with the Dalhousie Art Gallery in Halifax. Jackson was inspired to initiate this project as she stopped in front of a bookstore and was immediately drawn to one particular item in the window display – Allen Ginsberg’s HOWL. The title poem of this collection is his famous rant about the self-destruction of his friends in the Beat Generation (“I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness … ”).
Jackson asked composers Sandy Moore (CA), Klaus Ib Jorgensen (Denmark) and Marie Pelletier (CA) to write a twenty-minute solo mini-opera based solely on the many associations that go along with this evocative word. The pieces consisted of operatic singing (with and without text), ritualistic movement, extended vocal techniques, stylized acting, prerecorded sounds, and handheld percussion. HOWL was a cohesive, meticulously developed, and deeply moving set of operas.
“All of the three personalities I’m portraying in HOWL are complex, not only in their singing styles but in the depth of their feeling,” she says in a news release. “They’re bizarre because they are strangely different from people we see every day. They’re beautiful because they’ve been artfully, carefully and sensitively created by three marvellous composers.” – Chronicle Herald, Preview Read more
“Howl is a tour de force” – Chronicle Herald, Review Read more