Music by Juliet Palmer
Libretto by Anna Chatterton

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, the work 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.

Tour dates and ticket information: will be released May, 2017.

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


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


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