The opera, set in the swaggering showbiz world of professional wrestling, follows burned-out, B-circuit wrestler Andy The Mongrel McNabb in his fight for recognition and respect. Andy’s obsession leads him to abandon the women who love him and the offspring he fathers. Now alone and dying, he seeks forgiveness from his grown children who are strangers to him and to each other. 


Creative development was overseen by Calgary Opera with funding from Sessions were also held at Banff Centre and Canadian Opera Company,Toronto. Performed in concert at Arrata Centre in 2011 by Calgary Opera Emerging Artists, under the direction of Gordon Gerrard.

"Find or invent a story idea that gets you so excited you can spend five or more years of your life working on it with no promise (or even a reasonable hope) of it earning you a penny.”

- John Kenrick, musical theatre historian and author

The Untimely Death
of Whatsisname

Composer          Allan Gilliland
Librettist            Val Brandt

Set against the dramatic backdrop of the Alberta badlands, Hannaraptor tells the inspirational story of the struggle by a young girl, Hanna, to protect the family farm – and her secret discovery of a dinosaur skeleton with wings – in the face of a property developer’s greed.


This popular opera for young audiences was commissioned by Calgary Opera's Emerging Artists Program and premiered in 2008 at Vertigo Theatre, Calgary, followed by an extensive tour of Alberta schools and communities, plus a gala performance at the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. The opera was remounted and toured in 2013.

For the story, media reviews, audience comments, photos:

Read Hannaraptor brochure 

"A magical and empowering experience.”

- Opera Canada magazine


Composer          Allan Gilliland
Librettist           Val Brandt