A New Canadian Opera


The loss of 14 Nursing Sisters who drowned when their hospital ship the Llandovery Castle was torpedoed while crossing the Atlantic is a forgotten story of the Great War.

Composer Stephanie Martin and librettist Paul Ciufo have created a new Canadian opera as an act of remembrance to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Llandovery Castle in June 1918.

The calm confidence, skill and selflessness of Canadian nurses during the First World War stand in stark contrast to the chaos and violence that surrounded them. From the horrors inflicted by inhuman trench warfare, the Sisters offered healing and compassion to soldiers on both sides of the conflict.

Matron Pearl Fraser, her colleagues Rena ‘Bird’ McLean and ‘Kate’ Gallaher, German U boat Oberleutnant Helmut Patzig, and two Canadian servicemen who survived the sinking are brought to life by the singers of The Bicycle Opera Project, and Director Tom Diamond.

The issues explored in the opera are highly relevant in today's world.

As medical humanitarians working in contemporary conflict settings, the story of the Llandlovery Castle strongly resonates with our cause. It was then (in 1918), as it is now, outrageous and profoundly wrong that men and women healing the war-wounded should themselves be shot at.
— Joe Belliveau, Canada's Executive Director, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières


June 26 & June 27, 2018


Calvin Presbyterian Church
26 Delisle Avenue
Toronto, Ontario


Download the programme here.



We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts.
Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien

Canada Council Logo.jpg

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