Ian Cusson is a Métis and French-Canadian composer of art song, opera, and orchestral work. His work explores the Canadian Indigenous experience, including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures. He is the inaugural artist of the COC’s newly developed Composer-in-Residence program, with a residency at the COC Academy that officially began on August 19, 2019.
As part of Cusson’s composer residency, the COC has commissioned a new work with award-winning Canadian playwright and librettist Colleen Murphy and staged by COC Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence Julie McIsaac. Fantasma is being developed with families and young people in mind. The opera tells the story of two teenagers visiting an old-fashioned carnival and confronts an age-old dilemma: When you become aware of suffering, do you turn away? Or do you take action?
“The COC’s commitment to the development of new and diverse voices in the opera world speaks to their ongoing leadership in the opera community,” says Cusson. “For me, as a Métis person, this opportunity tells of the hope, resilience and long tradition of excellence in art-making of Indigenous peoples of this land, our ability to transcend borders and traditions, and our commitment to partner with forward-thinking institutions in the creation of powerful and transformative art.”