“The Lake”: When History, Music and Wine Combine


Quails Gate Estate, on the site of the Allison homestead, overlooks Lake Okanagan (photo Brian Sprout)

UPDATED: The Lake opens tonight—and is sold out. The good news is there are still tix for tomorrow night (November 15). And the better news is that all audience members  have a chance to enter a draw to win a superb weekend at Quails Gate’s guest cottage, The Nest, with dinner at Old Vines Restaurant and a VIP tasting… Details here.


Sometimes our worlds overlap in very satisfying ways. Next month the love of my life, Heather Pawsey (aka Partner in Calories), will realise the fulfillment of a dream she’s been working on for years, with the occasional assist from me.

Way back in the last century, say sometime around 1997 or thereabouts, we were visiting Quails’ Gate Estate Winery, chatting and tasting with co-owner Ben Stewart. In those days, a good decade or more prior to the unveiling of the current visitor centre, the Quails’ Gate tasting room was housed in the more humble surroundings of the former Allison home, which had been lovingly restored by the Stewarts.

The carefully restored Allison home used to house the Quails’ gate tasting room, Brian Sprout photo

As Ben and I were talking (probably about wine, again), Heather was browsing a binder full of various memorabilia, when she came across some faded photocopied typewritten sheets that she instantly recognised. The libretto in her hands was Dorothy Livesay’s The Lake, set to music by iconic Canadian composer Barbara Pentland and performed only once ever, on air at CBC Vancouver (March 1954). The chamber opera recalls the day that pioneer Susan Allison believes she saw the ‘monster’ of Lake Okanagan.

Over the years, Heather has pursued the possibility of mounting a fully staged production of The Lake on the property at which it was set, ideally at the winery, or close-by in the Okanagan.

Thanks to the involvement of Turning Point Ensemble, the first live professional production of The Lake will take place, with Heather singing the role of Susan Allison, at the Telus Theatre at Vancouver’s Chan Centre. November 14-15, 2012.

We (especially Heather) are thrilled that this has come to fruition—and delighted with the response from so many Allison descendants who plan to attend—as well as the ongoing support of Quails Gate and the Stewart family, who’ve come up with a spectacular prize draw to mark the occasion, entry details to be announced shortly.

Check out all the concert info here

Read more about Quails Gate wines here 

And raise a toast to the enduring memory of Susan Allison with a glass of deliciously fruit-acid balanced, lime-citrus and mineral toned Quails Gate Dry Riesling 2011, a Belly’s Best bargain, at $16.99 BCLS

By | 2018-01-21T15:05:32+00:00 October 29th, 2012|Hired Belly's Best Wines, Top Drops|0 Comments

About the Author:

Tim has been covering the food and wine revolution for about 20 kilos. Count 15 kg alone thanks to the blossoming cuisine and wine culture of British Columbia, Canada. Tim’s hallmark is seeking out and recommending value wines from BC and around the world that offer quality at every level. He also scopes out noteworthy restaurants that live up to their promises—and often over deliver. Readers depend on the Hired Belly for his “Belly’s Best” and “Belly’s Budget Best” picks to help them find the right wine for the occasion. He writes, tweets and shoots his own images for columns in the Vancouver Courier and North Shore News. He also contributes to WHERE Vancouver magazine, as well as to several other publications. They include Taste magazine, Tidings Magazine, and Montecristo. His columns are frequently picked up by major newspapers across Canada. Tim is a frequent judge for wine competitions, such as Vancouver Magazine International Wine Awards. He is a founding judge of The BC Lieutenant Governor’s Awards for Excellence in Wine. He is frequently invited to judge at The BC Wine Awards, and others. Tim has traveled to taste in many of the world’s leading wine regions, most recently in Burgundy, Argentina and Chile.

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