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Originally written by Scott Joplin (c. 1911), Treemonisha is one of the few pieces set soon after the abolition of slavery, written by a survivor of that era.

Fusing European classical music with the sounds of ragtime, folk, and gospel to create a thrilling and distinct sound, and introducing a young woman protagonist chosen by her community to lead, Joplin’s nearly-lost opera was far ahead of its time.

Working from the surviving vocal score and featuring the first all-Black orchestral ensemble in Canadian opera history, the new arrangements and orchestrations by Jessie Montgomery (Sphinx Medal of Excellence and ASCAP Leonard Bernstein award winner) and Jannina Norpoth (Grammy nominee) merge musical vocabularies, reflecting the major themes of the reimagined version: split identity – African and American – and the role of one’s ancestors in coming to terms with the realities of a new land.

Led by a predominantly Black female creative team from across North America, Joplin’s ground-breaking opera has been reimagined with a new story and libretto by playwright and broadcaster Leah-Simone Bowen (The Secret Life of Canada), working with Emmy-nominated co-librettist Cheryl L. Davis. Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha is conducted by the first Black woman conductor in Canadian opera history, Panamanian-American Kalena Bovell, and directed by award-winning, internationally acclaimed Canadian stage director Weyni Mengesha.

This reimagined version tells a revolutionary story of a young Black woman who, in discovering the truth of her past, and overcoming enormous personal loss, discovers her power to unify a divided people, and lead her community towards a new future.

COVID-19 Protocols

Coming soon.

Bluma Appel Theatre

The Bluma Appel Theatre is one of two theatres in St. Lawrence Centre for the Arts, located at the corner of Front Street East and Scott Street.

TO Live’s venue guide is available HERE.


Tuesday, June 6 - 2 PM (preview) Wednesday, June 7 - 8 PM (preview) Thursday, June 8 - 8 PM (preview) Saturday, June 10 - 8 PM (Black carpet opening) Sunday, June 11 - 4 PM Wednesday, June 14 - 8 PM Thursday, June 15 - 8 PM Friday, June 16 - 8 PM Saturday, June 17 - 8 PM

How to get here by transit

From Union Station (8 min walk)