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Ausrine Stundyte as Cio-Cio-San, Elizabeth Janes as Butterfly’s child and Sarah Larsen as Suzuki in Seattle Opera's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly. Photo by Elise Bakketun.
North American Works Directory Listing
Filumena
John Estacio
Born to parents of Portuguese descent, John Estacio was born in Newmarket, Ontario and raised in the farming community of the Holland Marsh. While growing up, John took private lessons on piano and accordion and cut his teeth in performance playing the church organ every Sunday. He developed a bug for composing in his teenage years creating soundtracks for short films that he and his school buddies created. He continued to work on his performance chops by playing trumpet and taking roles in high school musicals (Aurora High School 1980-85). But he knew composition was what his heart desired.

He attended Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario where he majored in composition, 1985-1989. While at WLU he studied composition with Glenn Buhr and Peter Hatch and piano with Boyd MacDonald. Between 1989-1991 he earned his Masters of Music at University of British Columbia where he studied composition with Stephen Chatman.

Shortly after graduating from UBC, he completed his first major orchestral work, Visoes da Noite, which became a finalist in the Winnipeg Symphony’s first Canadian Composers Competition (1992). Although he did not win the competition, he placed second and received a prize that included a commission for a new orchestral work for the WSO, Saudades, which the orchestra premiered at their New Music Festival in the following year. The WSO competition in 1992 was the first professional performance of one of his works by and it was also the first time a piece of his was aired on the CBC. This performance by the WSO brought Estacio to the attention of the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

In 1992 the ESO was searching for their first Composer in Residence. Estacio was initially hired to be in residence for ten weeks. However, this residency eventually lasted 8 seasons (1992-2000). During his residency in Edmonton, Estacio created several orchestral works to be premiered by the ESO. He also participated in various outreach activities including school concerts, audience outreach programs, and the Young Composers Project that he started in 1995. In 1998, Estacio was also in residence with Pro Coro Canada and created two works for the choir, Ziggurat (1998) with a libretto by Timothy J. Anderson, and Eulogies (2000) with text by Val Brandt. Eulogies received the Association of Canadian Choral Conductor’s National Choral Awards for Outstanding Choral Composition.

During his tenure with the ESO, he created A Farmer’s Symphony which the orchestra performed on their Northern Lights Tour in 1994 with stops in Yellowknife, Inuvik and Whitehorse. In 1997 he composed a Triple Concerto for the opening gala concert of the Winspear Centre for Music in Edmonton. That same year, he also received the Syncrude Award for innovative artistic direction for the Young Composers Project. He composed Frenergy (1998) which has become one of his often performed compositions. Several of the works Estacio composed during his residency can be found on the album titled Frenergy; the Music of John Estacio, released on CBC Records and performed by the ESO and Mario Bernardi.

In 2000, Estacio moved to Calgary and started a residency with the Calgary Philharmonic and the Calgary Opera. During his residency, he continued many of the projects in Calgary that he had started in his previous residency with Edmonton. He composed Solaris, Bottlegger’s Tarantella and Spring’s Promise for the CPO. His most notable achievement of the Calgary tenure, however, was his opera Filumena which he created with librettist John Murrell. He composed Filumena between 2001-2003 and it was premiered in Calgary February 1, 2003. The opera has since gone on to be performed twice at the Banff Summer Festival (2003, 2005), the National Arts Centre, and the Edmonton Opera. It was filmed for television and broadcast on the CBC network in March 2006.

During his tenures in Edmonton and Calgary, he also composed for other performers and ensembles including the Toronto Symphony, Montreal Symphony, Manitoba Chamber Orchestra, Vancouver Symphony, the CBC Radio Orchestra, the Banff International String Quartet Competition (2001), Nora Bumanis and Julia Shaw, Gwen Hoebig and David Moroz, and the Penderecki String Quartet. His compositions have been performed by several of the major orchestras in Canada, as well as orchestras in Manila, the Houston Symphony, Fort Wayne Philharmonic, and the Rochester Philharmonic.

In 2003 he received his first JUNO Nomination for Best Classical Composition for his string quartet Test Run. The Frenergy CD, a compilation of music he composed while in Calgary and Edmonton, was nominated for two JUNO awards. He received SOCAN’s Jan V. Matejcek Concert Music Award in 2004 and 2005. He has also received Young Composer Awards from SOCAN and PROCAN in 1989, 1990, 1992 and 1994.

He recently completed arrangements of Seven Songs by Jean Sibelius for performance by Ben Heppner and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. His currently resides in Edmonton, Alberta and is at work on his second opera, Frobisher, to be premiered in Calgary 2007. Other upcoming commissions include a symphony for the Victoria Symphony and a new opera for the Vancouver Opera.
John Murrell
John Murrell, OC, AOE, is internationally renowned as one of the most frequently produced of all Canadian playwrights. He is also a highly respected arts advocate, mentor and consultant. His plays have been translated into 15 different languages and performed in more than 30 countries worldwide.

He has worked as Playwright-in-Residence at both Theatre Calgary and Alberta Theatre Projects, as an Associate Director of the Stratford Festival of Canada, as Head of the Banff Playwrights Colony, as Head of the Theatre Section of The Canada Council for the Arts and since November 1999, as Artistic Director/Executive Producer of Theatre Arts at The Banff Centre.

Murrell’s work has received many awards, both nationally and internationally. His most recent projects are a play about Friedrich Nietzsche for The Shaw Festival of Canada and a second opera with John Estacio entitled FROBISHER (working title) scheduled to debut at the 2006 Banff Summer Arts Festival.
Bramwell Tovey, Conductor; Sue LePage, Designer; Harry Frehner, Designer; Kelly Robinson, Stage Director; Wayne Strongman, Musical Dramaturge; Bob McPhee, Co-producer
Gaetan Laperriere (Emilio Picariello); Laura Whalen (Filumena); David Pomeroy (Stefano); Gregory Dahl (Charlie); Torin Chiles (McAlpine); Elizabeth Turnbull (Maria)
www.filumena.com
February 01, 2003
National Arts Centre
Autumn, 1915
In the park of a small town in the Crowsnest Pass, family and friends celebrate the wedding of Filumena Costanzo to Charlie Lassandro. As festivities proceed, Filumena seems withdrawn, stunned by her new husband’s brusqueness. Charlie has given her a new “Canadian” name, Florence, which she clearly rejects. Emilio Picariello, Charlie’s boss and a kingpin of the illegal liquor trade, has organized a band to play for the couple’s first dance. After the dance, Picariello introduces Filumena to his son Steve and the two young people are immediately drawn to each other. Steve’s special “wedding song” is interrupted by the appearance of Constable Lawson of the Alberta Provincial Police, Picariello’s nemesis. Later, Filumena, seeing a storm in the distance, reflects on the life she has, and the life she desires to have.

In the park of a small town in the Crowsnest Pass, family and friends celebrate the wedding of Filumena Costanzo to Charlie Lassandro. As festivities proceed, Filumena seems withdrawn, stunned by her new husband’s brusqueness. Charlie has given her a new “Canadian” name, Florence, which she clearly rejects. Emilio Picariello, Charlie’s boss and a kingpin of the illegal liquor trade, has organized a band to play for the couple’s first dance. After the dance, Picariello introduces Filumena to his son Steve and the two young people are immediately drawn to each other. Steve’s special “wedding song” is interrupted by the appearance of Constable Lawson of the Alberta Provincial Police, Picariello’s nemesis. Later, Filumena, seeing a storm in the distance, reflects on the life she has, and the life she desires to have.

Winter, several years later Picariello, Charlie, McAlpine, and a group of bootlegging cronies are gathered in the Alberta Hotel in Blairmore. Picariello notices Filumena’s unhappiness and tries to console her. Suddenly several “Whisky Sixes,” laden with booze, arrive in the hidden cellar beneath the hotel, and the cronies hasten to bring in the contraband liquor. Picariello talks with Filumena and promises her that, in time, they will live a good clean life once they have enough money to fulfill their dreams. He suggests that she might help out by acting as a decoy for the bootleg trade, along with his son Steve. Constable Lawson appears and confronts Picariello about getting out of “the business.” He inspects the premises, but the bootleggers have had sufficient time to conceal the evidence and the Constable finds nothing incriminating.

Early summer, the next year In an alpine meadow outside Sparwood, British Columbia, Filumena and Steve are waiting to play their part in the bootlegging business. They have just finished a picnic lunch and are playing a translation game. Filumena wins, and for her prize Steve sings her the rest of the song which he began on her wedding day. They are passionately attracted to one another but are interrupted by Picariello and Charlie (his father, her husband) who transfer the bootleg haul from their own vehicle into that of the younger folk, who will now drive it back into Alberta “disguised as a young couple in love.”

Later, the same summer McAlpine, Picariello’s head mechanic, and other cronies are campaigning for “the Emperor Pic’s” election to the Blairmore Town Council. Meanwhile, tension builds in the hotel kitchen between Filumena, Steve and Charlie. The latter is obviously aware of the true nature of the relationship between Picariello’s son and his wife. Picariello arrives and addresses a crowd of supporters. Charlie angrily interrupts the speech: he’s had enough of all the pretending and posturing. There is a confrontation between him and Picariello and later, between Picariello and his wife Maria, who has just realized what is going on between their son and “this married woman.” As Picariello and Maria rejoin the election crowd Lawson appears in the hotel lobby — to meet secretly with Charlie.

September 21, 1922 A storm brews in the distance as Filumena sits alone in the hotel kitchen, waiting for Steve to appear. Charlie enters and tells Filumena that Steve decided to go on what they hope will be the bootleggers’ last run; but he should have returned long before now — something must have gone wrong. Maria Picariello appears too, looking for her son, and they summon Picariello from a meeting with the Town Council, to which he has been elected. Suddenly McAlpine arrives, his clothes torn and muddy. He tells them that Constable Lawson chased him and Steve across the border into B.C., shots were fired, and Steve “was hit real bad.” Picariello, in a fit of rage, swears to make Lawson pay if he has killed his boy, then grabs Filumena and storms off to the A.P.P. residence in nearby Coleman.

Less than an hour later Picariello and Filumena arrive at Lawson’s home. Picariello calls the Constable out into the yard. Lawson appears with his young family clustered behind him. Picariello, who is armed and who has also thrust a pistol into Filumena’s hand, accuses Lawson of killing his son. A struggle breaks out among the three of them. A shot is fired and Lawson falls to the ground.

Fort Macleod, Alberta A coffin, borne by Provincial policemen, is followed by Lawson’s widow and children. The people of the Crowsnest Pass, of Alberta, and of Canada, react to the sensational news of the murder, speculate on what really happened that night, and on how the perpetrators will be punished.

November, 1922 Maria and Steve Picariello visit Filumena in her jail cell in Calgary. They implore Filumena to take principal responsibility for the policeman’s death, and thus to save Emilio’s life. He is a man with a wife and children. Filumena realizes that her love for Steve has never been matched by his for her.

May 1, 1923 Both Filumena and Picariello have been convicted of Lawson’s murder and are awaiting execution at the penitentiary in Fort Saskatchewan. Filumena thinks of all that she will miss when she is no longer in this world. Picariello is haunted by the series of “mistakes” which led him to this dreadful end; he cannot bear to leave his family and his dreams behind. Prison guards arrive to take him to the gallows. As Filumena prepares for her own death, the sky outside suddenly shimmers with lightning. She remembers how much she always loved a storm, and then lets this last regret go too, in order to depart for a world without storms.

Winter, several years later
Picariello, Charlie, McAlpine, and a group of bootlegging cronies are gathered in the Alberta Hotel in Blairmore. Picariello notices Filumena’s unhappiness and tries to console her. Suddenly several “Whisky Sixes,” laden with booze, arrive in the hidden cellar beneath the hotel, and the cronies hasten to bring in the contraband liquor. Picariello talks with Filumena and promises her that, in time, they will live a good clean life once they have enough money to fulfill their dreams. He suggests that she might help out by acting as a decoy for the bootleg trade, along with his son Steve. Constable Lawson appears and confronts Picariello about getting out of “the business.” He inspects the premises, but the bootleggers have had sufficient time to conceal the evidence and the Constable finds nothing incriminating.

Early summer, the next year
In an alpine meadow outside Sparwood, British Columbia, Filumena and Steve are waiting to play their part in the bootlegging business. They have just finished a picnic lunch and are playing a translation game. Filumena wins, and for her prize Steve sings her the rest of the song which he began on her wedding day. They are passionately attracted to one another but are interrupted by Picariello and Charlie (his father, her husband) who transfer the bootleg haul from their own vehicle into that of the younger folk, who will now drive it back into Alberta “disguised as a young couple in love.”

Later, the same summer
McAlpine, Picariello’s head mechanic, and other cronies are campaigning for “the Emperor Pic’s” election to the Blairmore Town Council. Meanwhile, tension builds in the hotel kitchen between Filumena, Steve and Charlie. The latter is obviously aware of the true nature of the relationship between Picariello’s son and his wife. Picariello arrives and addresses a crowd of supporters. Charlie angrily interrupts the speech: he’s had enough of all the pretending and posturing. There is a confrontation between him and Picariello and later, between Picariello and his wife Maria, who has just realized what is going on between their son and “this married woman.” As Picariello and Maria rejoin the election crowd Lawson appears in the hotel lobby — to meet secretly with Charlie.

September 21, 1922
A storm brews in the distance as Filumena sits alone in the hotel kitchen, waiting for Steve to appear. Charlie enters and tells Filumena that Steve decided to go on what they hope will be the bootleggers’ last run; but he should have returned long before now — something must have gone wrong. Maria Picariello appears too, looking for her son, and they summon Picariello from a meeting with the Town Council, to which he has been elected. Suddenly McAlpine arrives, his clothes torn and muddy. He tells them that Constable Lawson chased him and Steve across the border into B.C., shots were fired, and Steve “was hit real bad.” Picariello, in a fit of rage, swears to make Lawson pay if he has killed his boy, then grabs Filumena and storms off to the A.P.P. residence in nearby Coleman.

Less than an hour later
Picariello and Filumena arrive at Lawson’s home. Picariello calls the Constable out into the yard. Lawson appears with his young family clustered behind him. Picariello, who is armed and who has also thrust a pistol into Filumena’s hand, accuses Lawson of killing his son. A struggle breaks out among the three of them. A shot is fired and Lawson falls to the ground.

Fort Macleod, Alberta
A coffin, borne by Provincial policemen, is followed by Lawson’s widow and children. The people of the Crowsnest Pass, of Alberta, and of Canada, react to the sensational news of the murder, speculate on what really happened that night, and on how the perpetrators will be punished.

November, 1922
Maria and Steve Picariello visit Filumena in her jail cell in Calgary. They implore Filumena to take principal responsibility for the policeman’s death, and thus to save Emilio’s life. He is a man with a wife and children. Filumena realizes that her love for Steve has never been matched by his for her.

May 1, 1923
Both Filumena and Picariello have been convicted of Lawson’s murder and are awaiting execution at the penitentiary in Fort Saskatchewan. Filumena thinks of all that she will miss when she is no longer in this world. Picariello is haunted by the series of “mistakes” which led him to this dreadful end; he cannot bear to leave his family and his dreams behind. Prison guards arrive to take him to the gallows. As Filumena prepares for her own death, the sky outside suddenly shimmers with lightning. She remembers how much she always loved a storm, and then lets this last regret go too, in order to depart for a world without storms. (courtesy of filumena.com)
Filumena(s), Picariello(bar), Stefano(t)
Charlie(bar), McAlpine(t), Maria(mz)
"Mimi and Madame Butterfly move over," -Bob Clark, Calgary Herald; Variety; William Littler, The Toronto Star; Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen; Kenneth Delong, The National Post; Robert Everett-Green, The Globe and Mail; Bill Rankin, Edmonton Journal; Paula Clark, Calgary Herald
02:10
2
Classical
Casey Prescott, The Banff Centre
Box 1020
Banff, Alberta Canada, T1L 1H5
theatre_arts@banffcentre.ca
780-762-6186
http://www.johnestacio.com/
The Opera Fund Awardee Information
2002 Canadian Opera Creation Fund Production
FILUMENA
Calgary Opera
Kelly Robinson
Bramwell Tovey
Sue LePage
2003 Canadian Opera Creation Fund Development
FILUMENA
Banff Centre, The
Kelly Robinson
Bramwell Tovey
Sue LaPage
2003 Canadian Opera Creation Fund Documentation
FILUMENA
Banff Centre, The
Kelly Robinson
Bramwell Tovey
Sue LePage
Audio Visual Materials

From left to right: Laura Whalen (Filumena), Gaetan Laperrier (Emilo Picariello), Elizabeth Turnbull (Maria Picariello) , David Pomeroy (Stefano Picareillo)  
Courtesy of: Banff Centre; Photo credit: Don Lee

From left to right: Gaetan Laperrier (Emilo Picariello)
Courtesy of: Banff Centre; Photo credit: Don Lee

From left to right: Gregory Dahl (Charlie  Lassandro), Keith Boldt (Constable Lawson), Gaetan Laperrier (Emilo Picariello), Laura Whalen (Filumena)
Courtesy of: Banff Centre; Photo credit: Don Lee

From left to right: Gaetan Laperrier (Emilo Picariello), Elizabeth Turnbull (Maria Picariello)
Courtesy of: Banff Centre; Photo credit: Don Lee

From left to right: Laura Whalen (Filumena)
Courtesy of: Calgary Opera; Photo credit: Trudie Lee

From left to right: Laura Whalen (Filumena), David Pomeroy (Stefano Picareillo)  
Courtesy of: Calgary Opera; Photo credit: Trudie Lee

From left to right: Gaetan Laperrier (Emilio Picariello), Laura Whalen (Filumena)
Courtesy of: Calgary Opera; Photo credit: Trudie Lee
Schedule of Performances Listings
Filumena (Estacio)
Saturday, November 26, 2005 - Edmonton Opera
Filumena (Estacio)
Saturday, February 01, 2003 - Calgary Opera Association
Filumena (Estacio)
- Banff Centre

Spring 2014 Magazine Issue
  • From Gold Rush to Google
  • Before, After and During Opera Conference 2014
  • OPERA America's New Works Forum Expands and Explores
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