The Cloths of Heaven
for SATB choir
an Opera in 1-act
music by Allan Gilliland, libretto by Val Brandt
SETTING: A FARM NEAR THE ALBERTA BADLANDS
TIME: THE PAST AND PRESENT
CHARACTERS: Dad (Don), 45; Baritone
Hanna, at 12 and 17, Soprano
Jesse, 23, Tenor
Mom (Maryann), 45, Mezzo
Conrad, 50, Baritone
Composition Date: 2007
Commisioned: by the S.A. Opera Development Foundation with the support of Calgary Opera
A 12-year-old girl, Hanna, and her father discover a large fossil rock in a coulee that runs through their farm near the Alberta badlands. It appears to be a one-of-a-kind find: the skeleton of a theropod with wings. Soon after, Dad dies in an accident, Hanna’s 18-year-old brother, Jesse, heads off on a round-the-world adventure, her mother takes on two jobs to get by, and Hanna begins secretly chipping and scraping away at the rock.
Five years later, Hanna is nearly finished uncovering her dinosaur skeleton, Jesse returns home with dreams of working the farm, and Mom is falling in love with a man who has an ambitious plan that will alter the land, the coulee and all of their lives forever.