Riel: Heart of the North is a new dramatic musical work by Métis librettist, Dr. Suzanne Steele, and composer Neil Weisensel, MMus, BMus, and will premiere in 2019. This major orchestral and vocal work, is facilitated by the Canada Council’s New Chapter Program through an award made to Weisensel and Steele in 2017. The Canada Council New Chapter program was created to showcase diverse artistic expression across our country and endeavours to create a lasting legacy for all Canadians in Canada’s 150th anniversary. Weisensel and Steele are grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new chapter in Canada’s artistic history.
Riel: Heart of the North explores a little-known chapter in Louis Riel’s life and focuses on the beauty and love of the homeland and of its people, the heart of the north. The work, for orchestra, soloists, and choruses is in Michif, English, and French. Through community engagement and performances, the Métis’s past, present, and future are reimagined in this 21st century work dedicated to reconciliation and truth.
In the summer of 2017 the artists will begin an extensive outreach into Métis communities throughout Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Montana, and North Dakota. The artists look forward to meeting musicians and storytellers and wish to invite them to participate in this project of celebration.