Sleeping Rough is a new opera about a homeless man named Ted and his rollercoaster journey from a dysfunctional childhood to life on the street. With a libretto written by award-winning poet Sandra Nicholls, composer Roddy Ellias has created a score that crosses musical and expressive genres combining elements of classical music, jazz and popular music. The opera is even more exceptional because the main roles are played by puppets created by Noreen Young (Order of Canada), and the singers behind those puppets — Kellylee Evans, Hélène Brunet, Felicity Williams and Gary Dahl — are artists chosen by Ellias for their highly expressive and personal styles of singing.
Sleeping Rough was first performed in Ottawa’s Arts Court theatre as part of the 2018 Music and Beyond festival. It sold out all three scheduled shows, received standing ovations and overwhelmingly favourable reviews, and has already been invited back to perform again at the 2019 festival.