Essential Opera presents Etiquette film premiere

Special re-broadcast May 2-10! Celebrating ECMAs!

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If you're here for the special ECMA re-broadcast, welcome! We're celebrating Monica Pearce's ECMA (East Coast Muisc Association) nomination for Classical Composer of the Year for our EP "Etiquette"!


You can watch the film on-demand from May 2-10 until 11:45pmAT. Info to watch, including a program and libretto, will be in your confirmation message and email!


It’s New Year’s Eve, 1927. Journalist and poet Dorothy Parker pours herself a generous drink in her Art Deco styled apartment. She’s up against a brutal deadline: write a review of socialite Emily Post’s 684-page tome on Etiquette by morning. The audience is swept up by Dorothy’s Roaring Twenties energy, as she disregards Etiquette in favour of a night of partying.

A few weeks later, Emily sits down to tea in the elegant home of trailblazing politician Nancy Astor. Mrs. Astor challenges Emily to defend her idealistic views on the human condition. Despite the tension between them, the two women realize they share a history of disappointments and betrayals.

Flashback to Dorothy’s apartment. The harsh light of day shines on a disheveled Dorothy and her typewriter. She attacks her review with a fresh burst of scathing wit and exuberant music. 

Essential Opera’s film version of Etiquette, an opera by Monica Pearce, is directed by Tom Belding, stars Maureen Batt as Dorothy, Erin Bardua as Emily, and Lucy Hayes Davis as Nancy. Music direction by Tara Scott, piano, with Brad Reid, clarinet.


Cast & Creative Team


Essential Opera - Producers

Tom Belding - Director


Tom Belding & Claire Fraser, cinematography

Emlyn Murray - Art director


Maureen Batt, soprano  – Dorothy Parker
Erin Bardua, sopranoEmily Post
Lucy Hayes Davis, mezzo-sopranoNancy Astor


Brad Reid - Clarinet

Tara Scott - Piano

Tara Scott - Conductor

Jodie Alcorn-Miller - Assistant conductor


Jeremy VanSlyke  – Recording producer
Ben B. Creelman  – Recording engineer
Ben B. Creelman, Haruka Nagata  –  Editing and mixing
Nathan Cann  – Mastering


Tom Belding -  Editing & VFX

Claire Fraser -  Key Grip / DIT

Emlyn Murray - Costumes

Becca Guilderson - Hair 

Emily Jewer - Makeup

Julia Jordan - 1st assistant director

Emily Jewer - 2nd assistant director

Annika Williams- Covid safety

Julia Jordan & Annika Williams - Production assistant

Emily Jewer - Graphic design


Filmed February 2023 at Local Council House, Halifax, NS

Recorded April 2022 at St. Andrew’s United Church, Halifax, NS


YouTube, NS