Road Opera
  • Music: Zack Settel
  • Libretto: Yan Muckle
  • Original Concept and Stage Direction: Pauline Vaillancourt
Alexandra (2012)


Alexandra David-Néel’s incredible journey to Tibet; the woman with soles of wind

This “road opera” is inspired by the extraordinary life of this French adventurer who travelled over the world’s highest peaks in sometimes extreme conditions.

Having lived more than a hundred years (1868-1969), she was in turns an anarchist, an opera singer, a journalist, a freemason, a feminist, a free thinker, a Buddhist, a reporter, a writer, an explorer and a philosopher. She dared to travel to the ends of the world at a time when women felt unable to take up such a challenge. Her many journeys were as varied as her many talents. She embarked on a spiritual journey as she adopted Buddhism and discovered a passion for Hinduism, a personal journey when she received the teachings of a Tibetan master in the far reaches of the Himalayas of the Upper Sikkim, and many other journeys as she made her way along difficult routes in sometimes extreme conditions, including travelling more than 3000 kilometers into mysterious Tibet. from Nepal to Japan, from Korea to the interior of China, form India to the mysterious, and at that time forbidden, Tibet. She was the first Western woman to enter Lhassa in 1924, after an incredible and secretive trek accompanied by a young citizen of Sikkim, Aphur Yongden, who became her adopted son in 1929.

Alexandra’s epic life offers us a lesson in courage, curiosity and perseverance. She always lived up to her motto ‘Follow the ways of your heart and whatever your eyes can see’. She wanted to explore the fullness of truth, which always led her farther, making her constantly go beyond her limits…

It is this clandestine and dangerous journey that will be at the heart of this opera.

On video

Alexandra - Extrait
May 2012, 5m28s

Partners and collaborators

Creative Team

Performers at the Premiere


Alexandra, conceived and produced by Chants Libres, is presented with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec, the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Conseil des arts de Montréal, in partnership with HexagramUQAM, Le Vivier, and VYV, and in collaboration with the ensemble In Extensio. Alexandra received a residence at Usine C.

Related Discography

  • Alexandra (DVD-R-Video, 2012)
    • Music: Zack Settel
    • Libretto: Yan Muckle
    • Stage direction: Pauline Vaillancourt
    26.00 CAD
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