Music by Juliet Palmer

Libretto by Anna Chatterton

The Depiction Of The Women’s Collective Experience Resonated Most Powerfully In The Rhythmic Ensemble Evocations—Sung And Spoken—Of The Soul-Destroying Daily Grind…And The Slowly Unfolding, Overlapping Textures Of Voices Yearning For A Better Life.

-Wall Street Journal


Sweat is an a cappella opera for nine singers by Juliet Palmer and Anna Chatterton about the global garment industry. It was commissioned and developed by Soundstreams with the generous support of the Ontario Arts Council and Opera.ca and was premiered in New York City this past October.

This July, Bicycle Opera is undertaking the Canadian premiere.

Scored for chorus and four soloists performing in English as well as Cantonese, Ukrainian, Spanish, and Hungarian, Sweat seeks to bring the audience into the heart of a contemporary sweatshop. What do these workers dream of while sewing sleeves all day? Was life better in the village left behind? What choice did they make? Plunging headfirst into the ethical conundrums of the garment trade, this opera offers a window into the lives of the workers who clothe us.

Immediately evoking the environment of the sweatshop, Palmer’s score falls in and out of musical grooves as she contrasts the sonic world of the factory floor with the lyrical hopes and dreams of the women who labour there.


Union Organizer: Stephanie Tritchew
Overseer: Catherine Daniel
Neighbour: Larissa Koniuk
Owner: Keith Lam
Caitlin Wood
Justine Owen
Emma Char
Alexandra Beley
Cindy Won


Stage Director: Banuta Rubess
Music Director: Geoffrey Sirett
Designer: Sonja Rainey

Tour Schedule


July 16 – HAMILTON

8:00 pm @ Workers Art and Heritage Museum
PWYC (suggested donation $20-$25)
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July 19 – WATERLOO

7:30pm @ The Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery
Admission: $35 adult/$25 student or arts-worker
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July 22 – OTTAWA

@ Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival
Community ride with Bicycle Opera: join us for a community ride from Ottawa to Almonte, with pop-up performances along the way!
Admission: FREE

July 23 – ALMONTE

2:00pm @ Mississippi Valley Textile Museum
3 Rosamond Street East, Almonte
Admission: $30
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July 24 – OTTAWA

10:00pm @ La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins
333 King Edward Avenue
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July 28 – KINGSTON

7:30pm @ The Isabel (Performance Hall)
$39 general/$32 faculty and staff/$16 student
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Details TBD
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August 3, 4, & 5 – TORONTO 

8:00 pm @ Aki Studio
Daniel Spectrum Theatre
$35/$25 student or art-worker
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August 6 – TORONTO

2:00 pm @ Aki Studio
Daniel Spectrum Theatre
$35/$25 student or art-worker
Purchase Tickets