TORONTO – Continuing its tradition of turning opera sideways, Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) presents its biggest, boldest production to date this spring. A Little Too Cozy (#ALittleTooCozy), a modern-day adaptation of Mozart’s Così fan tutte, runs from May 12 to 21, 2016, and will be staged entirely in a television studio at CBC Toronto’s headquarters. Tickets are now on sale at againstthegraintheatre.com.
A Little Too Cozy marks the third and final instalment in a trilogy of Mozart “transladaptations” developed by AtG, which marry the musical genius of Mozart’s creations with modern, topical language and references, as seen in the company’s sell-out hits Figaro’s Wedding and #UncleJohn (The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni, respectively). Featuring a new English libretto by AtG Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany, the opera is reset as a modern-day wedding reality TV show, where the final four contestants have found their match… but as expected, there’s always a catch.
After being workshopped at The Banff Centre last summer and presented to rave reviews, A Little Too Cozy is ready for Toronto audiences and has found the perfect home in Studio 42 at CBC Toronto. AtG is known both for its site-specific productions (venues have included dive bars, courtyards, art galleries, yoga studios and a historic manor) and for pushing the boundaries of audience expectations and roleplay. In this case ticketholders arrive as members of the studio audience for a live taping of A Little Too Cozy, where they’ll witness the final episode of the reality show that asks its contestants: “Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met?”
The creative team that led A Little Too Cozy to success at The Banff Centre reunites to serve a feast for the eyes and ears. Directed by Joel Ivany, with AtG Music Director Topher Mokrzewski at the head of a 5-piece chamber orchestra, the opera-turned-TV show is brought to life by AtG Resident Lighting Designer Jason Hand, responsible for a dazzling display worthy of ABC’s The Bachelor, and by set and costume designer Snezana Pesic, whose creations will make the audience forget that they’re not actually at a taping of CBC’s hottest new series.
The four contestants — who appear on the program looking for love in the age of social media — are sung by soprano Shantelle Przybylo, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, tenor Aaron Sheppard and baritone Clarence Frazer. Baritone Cairan Ryan and soprano Caitlin Wood reprise their roles as the TV show’s irrepressible host Donald L. Fonzo and Female Handler Despina, respectively.
“This production is a benchmark show for AtG,” says Joel Ivany. “It’s our most ambitious, exciting production to date, and staging it live in such a landmark venue as a CBC studio is definitely a highlight for our young company.”
Seven performances take place in Studio 42 at CBC Toronto’s headquarters, 25 John Street, from May 12 to 21, 2016 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $35 to $95, and are available at againstthegraintheatre.com.
Against the Grain Theatre’s A Little Too Cozy
May 12, 13, 14, 17, 18, 20 and 21, 2016
CBC Toronto, 25 John St.
Tickets: $35 to $95
More info: againstthegraintheatre.com
In December of 2010, Toronto’s opera scene received a jolt of energy with the formation of Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), a visionary young start-up founded by Joel Ivany and a small group of friends who worked in the “biz.” With a goal of reinvigorating the operatic art form by presenting classical repertoire in unconventional spaces and innovative ways, AtG staged its first performance to a sold-out audience of 50 people, and with that the company was off and running. Since that first season, AtG has packed every single one of its productions with standing room-only crowds, winning a consistent level of critical acclaim that has even surprised its own members. Maclean’s has referred to AtG as “the most successful of the indies,” and the Calgary Herald called it “one of the most important opera companies in Canada.” AtG’s 2013 production of Figaro’s Wedding received seven Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations, winning the award for Best New Musical/Opera. It also received several nominations for the innovative 2014 production of #UncleJohn. The arts community has embraced the AtG, as has a much wider, more diverse audience of people who may have never considered attending an opera. AtG is a proud member of Indie Opera T.O.
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