Canadian Opera Company & White Ribbon Team up for ‘Uncomposed’ Campaign

By Francisco Salazar

White Ribbon and the Canadian Opera Company are teaming up for “Uncomposed,” a global initiative that harnesses the power of music to promote emotional literacy and help men and society redefine strength in emotions.

The multi-faceted campaign features an original composition, a documentary, and a survey about perceptions of masculinities.

In a statement, Humberto Carolo, Executive Director of White Ribbon, said, “Our goal is to ignite societal change that promotes emotional literacy and healthy masculinities,” “For too long, society has taught men to be ‘strong’ by repressing their emotions. It has heroized this version of masculinity. ‘Uncomposed’ will start a conversation and encourage men and boys to acknowledge and express a range of complex emotions. We can help end gender-based violence by normalizing and promoting emotional literacy and healthy masculinities among men and boys, and emphasize that strength is the ability to show vulnerability.”

The ‘Uncomposed’ campaign will explore how men are socialized to dismiss their feelings, particularly sensitivity and vulnerability, which results in emotional withdrawal, disconnection, violence, self-medication, and risk-taking. According to the survey, more than 81 million North American men say they are reluctant to cry for fear of looking weak and another 46 percent say they find it difficult to express their emotions to anyone outside of their immediate family and partner.

“Uncomposed” was developed by world-renowned producer Jared Kuemper with support from Canadian Opera Company Music Director Johannes Debus, as well as notable North American music cognitive scientists. It was performed live by a quintet, in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. A video of the recording documents the experiences of four men of diverse backgrounds as they hear the composition for the first time.