Wild Dogs hunts down the innate wildness of the human heart and exposes the struggle between love’s wild power and our desire to domesticate it.


The Story: Six strangers gather on a field each evening and call to their dogs who have joined a feral pack living in the wood. The strangers gradually form a pack of their own. One of the group, a brain-damaged young woman named Lily, is increasingly frustrated by the group’s unwillingness to search the wood. Inconsolable over the loss of her beloved dog, named Dog, she dares to enter the wood alone. 

If you would like to help support the development of Wild Dogs, please go to wilddogsopera.com  

Wild Dogs - IN CONCERT 

May 24, 2017 at The Annex 

823 Seymour Street, Vancouver, BC

Standing Wave crowned their successful 2016-17 concert season with WILD, a collection of new works by fearless young composers, culminating in the first public performance of excerpts from Wild Dogs, featuring the sublime singing and acting of special guest soprano Carla Huhtanen as the fragile character, Lily.    

​The six musicians of Standing Wave played briliantly – as they always do! – but this night they were also heroic ‘vocally’ as wolves, dogs, frogs, katydids, howling wind, rustling leaves, and human characters in Lily’s hallucinations.


Composer          Anna Pidgorna
Librettist            Val Brandt

An extraordinary new contemporary chamber opera based on the award-winning novel by Canadian author Helen Humphreys. Currently in development by Robert Carey of black bachx opera lab with  Standing Wave chamber ensemble, in co-operation with Music on Main.

Photo: Rebecca Whitling, Peggy Lee, Vern Griffiths, AK Coope, Christie Reside, Allen Stiles, Carla Huhtanen


July, 2015

Under the insightful direction of dramaturge Ann Hodges, Val, Anna, Robert and six brilliant actors set out to bring this complex piece to life. Ann delved into the opera's structure and mined input and feedback from the team, and by the end of day three, we had a  solid dramatic arc, heightened emotional flow, and the actors were truly inhabiting the characters' world. At a full reading for invited guests, the libretto was loudly applauded and deemed ready for Val to refine in preparation for Anna’s composition process. 

Photo: (back) Anna Pidgorna, Kyle Jespersen, Heather Pawsey, Julia Arkos, David Adams, Ann Hodges, Val Brandt, Robert Carey. (front) Shawn Macdonald, Kayla Dunbar


November 1-2, 2016

The Post at 750, Vancouver

with Carla Huhtanen, soprano, and the musicians of Standing Wave

We focused on scenes taking place in the wood, a magical world of rustling leaves, howling winds and splashing turtles, where Lily - now living with the pack - replaces her words with the yips and growls of dogs and mimics frogs and owls.


Anna's imaginative music, together with the brilliance and inventiveness (how do you make trees creak, turtles splash, icicles snap?) of Standing Wave, provided a rich soundscape for Carla's translucent voice and deeply moving portrayal of Lily.

Photo: Allen Stiles and Carla Huhtanen work on their 'dog speak'