Today in Canadian Art History: January 14, 1790 – The First Opera was Performed in Canada


January 14, 1790 – The first opera performed in Canada took the stage when Joseph Quesnel premiered Colas et Colinette ou le Bailli Dupe in Montreal.

It was “likely the first operatic work with original music written in Canada, and may be the first in North America.” [Canada Channel]

Joseph Quesnel

Joseph Quesnel, “Colas et Colinette,” handwritten score, 1789 (via John E. Hare, “QUESNEL, JOSEPH,” in Dictionary of Canadian Biography, vol. 5, University of Toronto/Université Laval, 2003)