(Ottawa) The brother of one of three women killed by their ex-partner in the Ottawa Valley recruited Margaret Atwood for a music project on gender-based domestic violence.
An awareness campaign by baritone Joshua Hopkins, whose sister Nathalie Warmerdam was murdered in 2015, caught the attention of Margaret Atwood and composer Jake Heggie.
They agreed to join him in an effort to “inspire other voices” to the cause with an eight-piece album of Margaret Atwood’s poetry sung by Joshua Hopkins, accompanied on piano by Jake Heggie.
Songs for Murdered Sisters was jointly commissioned by the Houston Grand Opera and the Ottawa National Arts Center Orchestra. The album will be released on March 5, shortly before International Women’s Day.
All songs were written both as a chamber piece for voice and piano and as a fully orchestrated piece.
A separate filmed performance will be available for free on February 19 on the Marquee TV platform.
Songs for Murdered Sisters was inspired by the murders perpetrated by Basil Borutski, who was convicted in 2017 of first degree murder in the deaths of Joshua Hopkins’ sister, Nathalie Warmerdam, 48, as well as that of Anastasia Kuzyk, 36.
Borutski was also convicted of the second degree murder of Carol Culleton, 66. The three murders occurred within an hour of each other on September 22, 2015.
Borutski had a relationship with the three women and sought revenge for alleged offenses against him, the court said during his trial.
He is serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 70 years.
“I have known two women who were murdered, both by jealous former dating partners, so the murder of Joshua’s sister resonated with me,” Margaret Atwood said in a statement.
“I used the plural for the ‘sisters’ (from the album title) because they are indeed – unfortunately – very plural. Sisters, daughters, mothers. There are so many. “