What's New

After Figaro's Wedding, are you ready to meet Uncle John? The third in Against the Grain's series of English-language adaptations of popular operatic classics, Uncle John will be making its first appearance this summer at the Banff Centre.

AtG is partnering with the Banff Centre and the Canadian Opera Company for Open Space, a one-of-a-kind performance-based collaborative training experience for emerging opera professionals.

The program will accept 8 young professionals for a 4-week intensive residency devoted to practical skill extension and development, while participating in Uncle John, a modern interpretation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. This adaptation will feature a new English libretto written by Against the Grain Theatre's artistic director Joel Ivany. Full details here!

The season continues in June, 2014 with an homage to Claude Debussy, as the AtG crew tackles the composer’s only complete operatic work: Pelléas et Mélisande. Sung in French with English titles, the production features an outstanding Canadian cast comprising baritone Etienne Dupuis as Pelléas, soprano Miriam Khalil as Mélisande, baritone Gregory Dahl as Golaud and bass Alain Coulombe as Arkel.

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June 19, 21, 23 and 25, 2014
Canadian Opera Company's Max Tanenbaum Courtyard Gardens

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Who is AtG?

Joel “Ginger Ninja” Ivany

Joel had the crazy idea to start this company and serves as Artistic Director, when he's not slowly climbing the opera career ladder by freelancing as a stage director. He has written two original librettos performed by Against the Grain Theatre.

Christopher “Matzo Ball” Mokrzewski

Pianist, vocal coach and conductor Christopher “Topher” Mokrzewski is a steadily rising figure in the worlds of Canadian opera and chamber music. He was recently appointed Resident Conductor of Calgary Opera, and is a founding member and Music Director of Against the Grain Theatre.

Caitlin “Half-Pint” Coull

Caitlin Coull is a founding member of AtG. She honed her chops at the Canadian Opera Company, where she worked in communications for five years. By day she leads the communications department of the Art Gallery of Ontario, and by night she can be found refilling wine glasses at parties in the home she shares with her husband, AtG music director Topher Mokrzewski.

Cecily “T-Bone” Carver

An opera obsessive specializing in technology and social media, Cecily Carver joined the Against the Grain Theatre team in 2012 as its community engagement advisor. She is currently the co-founder/director of Dames Making Games, a non-profit community organization for women game-makers.

Miriam “The Leb” Khalil

One of Canada's rising sopranos, Miriam has sung at Glyndebourne, Aldeburgh, and with Canadian Companies and Orchestras from coast to coast. She is also a graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and a founding member of ATG. Her roles with Against the Grain Theatre include Mimi in La Bohème, the Governess in The Turn of the Screw, and Susanna in Figaro's Wedding.

Lucia "Big Caesar" Cesaroni

As the newest member of the Against the Grain famiglia, soprano Lucia Cesaroni draws inspiration from her fundraising work in the Italian-Canadian community and from her work with the Toronto Summer Music Festival and the National Ballet of Canada. She has performed with Vancouver Opera, The Montreal Symphony and the Aldeburgh and Ravinia festivals.

Nina "The Hammer" Draganic

By day, Nina Draganic is the Canadian Opera Company's Director of Programming, Free Concert Series in the RBA. By night she brings some serious cred to the AtG team as its artistic advisor. Praised by music critic John Terauds as "the most significant concert presenter in [Toronto] outside of the TSO," she has made a lasting impact on the COC and the Toronto cultural scene by creating one of the most popular and highly regarded concert series in the city.