“Lorna MacDonald, creator, librettist and producer, and composer Dean Burry delivered an exuberant musical tribute to this part of Canada and to the extraordinary couple that left such a mark on its history.”
– OPERA CANADA
THE BELLS OF BADDECK TELLS the story of the “Father of Communication” and his wife, the woman “for whom the telephone was invented.”
THE BELLS OF BADDECK follows the great inventor Alexander Graham Bell from his fledging start, through his inspiring teaching, his experiments, and his love for Mabel, to their settling in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. They meet the Scots of Cape Breton Island and fall in love with their music and Gaelic charm!
The Airmen and the silver Dart
But the inventions and experiments don’t stop at the telephone! Baddeck was the perfect place for both Alex and Mabel to experiment, raise their family and dream! This included the development of the Aerial Experiment Association, the flight of the Silver Dart the first controlled powered flight in Canada, across the Baddeck Bay. In THE BELLS OF BADDECK, meet the men behind this historic moment for the nation!
The matriarch of the family, Mabel Bell, was deaf from childhood, never hearing the ring of the telephone nor the roar of the Silver Dart. She became one of the century’s most influential advocates for women, children, the arts, and science. Together, the Bells changed communication for both the hearing and the deaf.
The Team that made it happen
The creative team of THE BELLS OF BADDECK, in its original two season, brought together some of Canada’s finest talent, many of whom were personally connected to Cape Breton. It was a project years in the making, helmed by Cape Breton soprano and University of Toronto professor Lorna MacDonald. Joining her in this labour of love was Newfoundland composer Dean Burry, Mimi Mekler (director), and fellow Cape Bretoners Stuart Calvert (music director) and Lydia Adams (arranger).
An Award-winning show!
With Parks Canada’s team the show received the CEO National Award of Excellence from Parks Canada, and Select Destination Awards from Destination Cape Breton.
Don’t miss out on this first-of-a-kind production in Atlantic Canada! If you use a phone, take a plane, or have “dreams that no one else dreams” – come to THE BELLS OF BADDECK, opening August 2, 2022.
Photos from the 2015 and 2016 productions. Click to enlarge and view slideshow with captions.
Photos by Warren Gordon Photography
From the creators:
“The Bells of Baddeck came to fruition through assistance, benevolence, courage, faith, love and luck, passion and perseverance, talent, work, and a simple dream. Just as the love and dreams of Alexander Graham and Mabel Bell changed our world, I hope that their story will inspire you to dream, try, and love.”
From the creators:
“It always amazes me to look at the development of a project from inspiration to the stage, and if there is one word that is intimately linked with the name Alexander Graham Bell it is inspiration. It certainly was the inspiration of Lorna MacDonald, which lifted The Bells of Baddeck off the ground, but it was my own first visit to Baddeck and the Bell Museum, which provided all the inspiration that I needed to create the “sound” of the show. As a Newfoundlander, this part of the world holds a very special place in my heart, but to see the way that Alec and Mabel connected this small maritime town to the greater international community was nothing short of miraculous.”
Dean Burry, Composer
From the creators:
“In the score of The Bells of Baddeck, Lorna and Dean have written an original, emotionally-charged narrative, which gathers intensity as this work develops. However, to ensure the work remains rooted in the era during which Alec and Mabel flourished, The Bells of Baddeck also references music which would have been known to Alec and Mabel, and it includes Lydia Adams’ rousing setting of Melville Bell’s (rediscovered) Here’s to Beinn Bhreagh! For me, that unusual marriage of both the newly-written score and traditional music is especially appealing.”
– Stuart Calvert, Music Director