Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good afternoon and welcome to the Canadian
premiere of "Chopin and The Nightingale". My name is Karen Stintz, and I
am the Toronto City Councillor for Ward 16, Eglinton-Lawrence and Chair of the TB
Subcommittee of the Toronto Board of Health. We are very pleased that this musical
drama is being staged to signal the importance of the global fight against tuberculosis
and the contribution that Canada is making to this challenge.
The premiere is a milestone among several initiatives taken in the
context of World TB Day. Toronto Public Health together with The Glenn Gould School
of the Royal Conservatory of Music and the Royal Ontario Museum have over many months
played a key role in getting this event up and running.
Tuberculosis has re-emerged as a global and dangerous epidemic that continues to
kill two million people each year in both low- and high-income countries - despite the
fact that TB is completely curable. Toronto has approximately 400 cases of TB
yearly, representing almost one quarter of all cases reported in Canada. Toronto
Public Health continues to work closely with health care providers to ensure early
detection and appropriate treatment of TB.
Before we lift the curtain, please allow me to extend a special welcome
to: Piotr Strutynski of the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in
Toronto; Melissa Phypers of the Public Health Agency of Canada who is chairperson of
Stop TB Canada; Dr Barbara Kawa, Marg Driscoll, Tara Harris, and Joy Marshall of the
Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care; and Dr Barbara Yaffe of Toronto
Public Health. We are also grateful for the high-level patronage and the
endorsements that this event enjoys.
I would like to extend a special thank-you to Cecilia and Jens
Jorgensen, the founders and managers of the nonprofit organization Icons of Europe that is
based in Brussels. They are the playwrights and pro bono co-producers of this
premiere of "Chopin and The Nightingale". They were not able to be here
today, but they took the initiative to organize today's event, in concept and in detail,
as a multi-institutional transatlantic joint venture - and to bring it to the attention of
key players in the TB world.
So, to conclude in the spirit of transatlantic cooperation on
tuberculosis control and great culture, I thank you all for attending this event. I
am convinced that you will connect with the four performers of The Glenn Gould School:
Catherine Affleck, Meghan Fleet, Régulo Martinez and David Visentin.
Singing, playing and narrating, they will now enact the true-life story of "Chopin
and The Nightingale".