Sanctuary and Storm 

 Coming 2021

(In Development)


Sanctuary & Storm is currently in development. Our last workshop was a full-concert reading in June 2019. We are planning a full production in the 2021 season.


The commissioning of Sanctuary and Storm is made possible by the Canada Council for the Arts*. The 2017 workshops are made possible by the Opera America Discovery Grants for Female Composers. 


Sanctuary & Storm is a new opera by Tawnie Olson (composer) and Roberta Barker (librettist), that depicts a fictional debate between the two most powerful women in Medieval Europe: Hildegard of Bingen, the Sibyl of the Rhein and Eleanor of Aquitaine, Duchess of Aquitaine, Queen of the Normans. The two women have had very different life experiences and yet they find themselves in a similar position: they have risen to great power and yet they are still not respected in the same way as their male equivalents in their society. Their very different life experiences cause them to fall into a heated argument about how to move beyond the oppression they face and to lose sight of their common goal: a world reborn. Commenting on the debate, is the Angel of History, who sees into the past, present and future and reminds Hildegard and Eleanor, as well as the audience, that there is a common goal, but that history has a habit of repeating itself. 






Eleanor of Aquitaine

Hildegard of Bingen

The Angel of History


Mireille Asselin

Debi Wong

Dashon Burton

Arianne Abela


We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.


Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.