This being the Toronto Star, though, what's really crucial is demonstrating that you adore Muslims because they're our friendly helpers (even if a few of them get up to some unpleasant shenanigans), and history be damned. Thus, this review of a supposedly ripped from the headlines opera in which the heroine (the putative Joan of Arc-like character) is a Muslim and Christians are the bad guys:
Marshall Pynkoski could hardly believe the synchronicity between the news of the day and Opera Atelier’s Armide.
“It’s so timely, it couldn’t be better,” said the company’s co-artistic director of the rare opera that deals with a female Muslim protagonist.
With the federal election campaign igniting discussion of Muslim culture, Pynkoski seized the opportunity to reach out to the Muslim community for this story of a Muslim warrior princess who vanquishes a Christian knight in battle then spares his life. She suffers for this decision...
“It was the Christians who were the barbaric invaders (in the opera). Everyone thinks the other is a terrorist. What I find so thrilling is that there is love and hate on both sides.”Yes, that is thrilling.
Not so accurate in our day, when Muslims are massacring Christians by the score, and smacking more than a little of inappropriate cultural appropriation, but thrilling nonetheless. But do go on, Mr. P. What would you say this imaginary scenario has to tell us?
The opera “says that love is stronger than hate. It is very relevant to a modern audience.”
He compares Armide to Joan of Arc, who armed herself for battle and led Christian armies. Pynkoski wanted Armide to “subliminally represent Joan of Arc, a virgin, unbeatable in battle, who terrifies men, almost emasculates them.”
To that end, he asked returning star soprano Peggy Kriha Dye to cut her hair short, as she did for her previous performance. He also sent her off to the gym where she lost 20 pounds and developed the sculpted arms and torso of an athlete.
“I may wear a ball gown, but I need to look like I can carry a sword,” Kriha Dye said.So let me get this straight. You play a character who is Muslim, not Catholic, and you wear a ball gown, not a suit of armour, but your director thinks you're a dead ringer for Joan of Arc?
M'kay. Aren't you the least bit confused by any of this?
Asked how she feels about representing one of the few Muslim heroes onstage, Kriha Dye called it “a responsibility and an honour.”
“By the end of the day, this is about two people with the same vulnerabilities. It does speak to current events. We are addressing the issues the audience cares about.” ...By the end of the day, you and your opera are full of crapola.
Update: FYI, there already is an opera about Joan of Arc, the non-Muslim one. It's called Maid of Orleans, and it's by Tchaikovsky: