The details are harrowing. At 7:36 am, on 22 September 2015, Basil Borutski left his apartment in Palmer Rapids, Ontario wearing camouflage gear and carrying a sawn-off 12-gauge pump-action shotgun as if he was going hunting. He was not. Instead, he went on a brutal killing spree, shooting two ex-partners and strangling a third, in what is considered one of the worst cases of domestic violence in Canadian history. Perhaps surprisingly it took a jury 14 hours of deliberations over three days to find him guilty.

Joshua Hopkins on location for the Songs for Murdered Sistersfilm. Photo © Zoe Tarshis

One of the women, Nathalie Warmerdam, was the sister of Joshua Hopkins, an operatic baritone with a career that has taken him from Lyric Opera of Chicago to the Metropolitan Opera. Like many in the close-knit Ottawa Valley community, the event changed his life. “Renfrew County, where I grew up, is a large county so it is spread out, but it’s a county where a lot of people know each other and talk,” Hopkins reflects over Zoom...