Monthly Archives: May 2016

XVIth century - Palma Giovane, The rape of Lucretia, circa 1570, oil on canvas

Up next: The Rape of Lucretia

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Coming next season

Benjamin Britten’s



AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Music Director Topher Mokrzewski present Britten’s haunting chamber opera about the ill-fated Lucretia, whose was rape by Tarquinius Sextus — son of the Etruscan King of Rome — and consequent suicide spurred the revolution that toppled the monarchy and brought about the Roman Republic.

The Rape of Lucretia will be developed and debuted at The Banff Centre this summer, followed by a semi-staged sneak peek at Toronto Summer Music Festival.


Upcoming performances:

July 14–17, 2016     The Banff Centre

Stage direction by Paul Curran

Get tickets


Friday, July 22, 2016     Toronto Summer Music Festival

Stage direction by Anna Theodosakis

Toronto Summer Music offer: Use the promocode AGAINSTTG for a special 20% discount!*

Get tickets

*Offer not applicable to previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer.  Offer only applicable to regular priced tickets.  Offer expires June 15. 


Full AtG presentation in Toronto, location TBA

Stay tuned for the on-sale date and more announcements!

A Little Too Cozy, photographed by Darryl Block

Your evening links: The Cozy reviews are in!

By | A Little Too Cozy, AtG in the News, Press | No Comments

Amadeus meets The Bachelor in Against the Grain’s A Little Too Cozy | The Globe and Mail
“We modern opera-goers got to feel like the original audiences to all the classics of the opera repertoire: We heard a libretto that was written for us and our times – that was funny, clever, pointed, meaningful.”

Review: A Little Too Cozy | Schmopera
“With his trademark energy and style, Topher Mokrzewski guided the cast and pit through the incredibly dense score that is Così as only he can — and you understand in one moment why he’s so in demand as a Musical Director across the country.”

Review: Cozy Fantastic | barczablog
“The CBC’s Studio 42 is just about the coolest place I’ve ever been to see an opera… Cozy is quite a remarkable creation, one that adds extraordinary energy to the original. I can’t recommend this highly enough.”

Review: A Little Too Cozy | Mooney on Theatre
“All of Mozart’s stunningly lyrical and captivating arias, duets, and ensembles are present… This production is a must see. It is a fresh, innovative, funny, and visceral characterization of love in the technological age.”

A Little Too Cozy a wild romp that subverts Mozart: review | Toronto Star
“Against the Grain lives up to its name with sassy English-language take on Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte.”

Cozying up to The Bachelor | NOW Magazine
“Mokrzewski says, “These Mozart adaptations are statements of love for Joel and me, using a different lens to look at Mozart classics. They’re acts of love, not sacrilege.””

A Little too Cozy is a reality show romp — opera-style | Toronto Star
“Sung in English laced with slang and technical references, the “transladaptation” moves the comedy of manners from 18th-century Naples to a modern-day wedding reality TV show in CBC Toronto’s Studio 42.”

A Little Too Cozy updates Mozart for the reality-TV world | The Globe and Mail
“The result is A Little Too Cozy, which opens on Thursday, an adaptation of Così that does for it what Against the Grain’s #UncleJohn did for Don Giovanni a year or so ago.”

John Doyle: In defence of reality TV and so-called trash TV | The Globe and Mail
“It all makes perfect sense, this interpretation… All you have to do is look up a plot summary of Così fan tutte to see that it’s a hilarious farce no less ridiculous in its bones than The Bachelorette.”

Meet the Contestants of A Little Too Cozy | Schmopera
“We asked Felicity, Elmo, Dora, and Fernando about how their romances have blossomed so far, and whether or not they think they’ll find true love on A Little Too Cozy.”

Cairan Ryan as Donald L. Fonzo in A Little Too Cozy, photo by Darryl Block

Your evening links: The Toronto Star and NOW Magazine on Cozy

By | A Little Too Cozy, AtG in the News, Press | No Comments

If you’re a reality show fan, you know that programs like The Bachelor or The Bachelorette are full of inflated, overly dramatic emotional climaxes — operatic moments, if you like.

“Così is my favourite opera of the three,” admits Mokrzewski, who’s also resident conductor at the Calgary Opera.

“I know that for some people the story gets in the way – it’s arguably misogynistic, silly and cynical – but Mozart infused it with ideas about relationships and how easy it is to switch affections. The music is profound and filled with humanity, and appeals to any listener.

Continue reading Glenn Sumi for NOW Magazine: “Cozying up to The Bachelor”


Four opera singers have spent months preparing for their roles in A Little Too Cozy, but it hasn’t been by singing scales.

They’ve been downhill skiing and riding snow machines, writing love letters and drinking wine at the beach as they create videos and back stories for the four contestants in the reality TV show that they portray in the opera opening Thursday.

Continue reading Trish Crawford for the Toronto Star: “A Little too Cozy is a reality show romp — opera-style”


CBC Toronto Studio 42

How do I get to A Little Too Cozy at CBC Studio 42?

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We’re looking forward to seeing you at A Little Too Cozy!

Doors open at 7pm, and the performance begins at 8pm sharp. Please arrive by 7:30pm at the latest, because the security and access within television studios is… complicated.


Check your inbox for your electronic tickets from TicketLeap, which you can print or display to us on your phone/tablet for entry.

 Getting here

CBC Toronto, Studio 42 (Floor 10)
Entrance off 25 John Street

The entrance to CBC Toronto is on 25 John Street, just south of Wellington Street West.

By Car

The closest Parking Garage is on 200 Wellington Street: Impark and Spots Parking Inc.


The closest streetcar stop is on King Street West and John Street. CBC Toronto is about a 2-minute walk from the stop. By subway, St. Andrew Station is a 7-minute walk, and Union Station is 9 minutes.

By Bike

There are bike racks along John, Wellington and Front Streets.


25 John Street’s entrance is fully accessible. Drive up John Street and stop for a direct drop-off if desired. Contact us if you have any questions.

CBC Toronto Studio 42

Heading upstairs to Studio 42

Once you arrive at the Entrance of CBC Toronto, there is a bit of a process to get upstairs. We’ll be there to greet you at the door, scan your tickets, sign you in at security, and bring you to Studio 42 by elevator. This can take about 10 to 15 minutes, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get here.

We recommend arriving at the doors no later than 7:30pm to avoid lineups.

Topher Mokrzewski at the piano. Photo: Darryl Block

Topher Mokrzewski at the piano. Photo: Darryl Block

What to expect

Pre-show chats with Stephan Bonfield

May 14, 17, 18, 20, & 21 at 7:30pm
Curious about our spin on Mozart? Join music lecturer and performing arts journalist Stephan Bonfield (Calgary Herald, Musical Toronto) for our intimate pre-show chats in the bar/lounge of Studio 42.


In keeping with the AtG spirit, there will be a cash bar at the venue: $7 wine, $6 beer, $1 water.

Smartphones on and out!

Take photos and live-tweet before, during, and after the show! (Just no audio or video recording, please.) Use the hashtags: #ALittleTooCozy, #TeamDora, #TeamFelicity and tag @atgtheatre.

Endless selfie-ops!

This venue is incredibly cool and our floor has a CBC Comedy Wall of Fame featuring such luminaries as SCTV, The Kids in the Hall, Martin Short and the one and only Mr. Dress Up.

 My friend/date/co-worker wants to come!

That’s great! Any unsold tickets will be available at the door on a first-come, first-served basis. But quantities are limited and we’ve turned people away in the past, so reserve your tickets ahead of time:

Buy tickets

What to watch & read

Check out these articles and previews

A Little Too Cozy updates Mozart for the reality-TV world | The Globe and Mail

John Doyle: In defence of reality TV and so-called trash TV | The Globe and Mail

Mozart meets ‘Married At First Sight’: a fix for opera? | Maclean’s

Read our house program (PDF) here

Rihab Chaieb as Dora in A Little Too Cozy

New Videos: The Season Finale trailer + Meet The Contestants

By | A Little Too Cozy, Behind the scenes, Video | No Comments

Tune in May 12 to 21 at 8pm for the season finale:

Below, meet the final four contestants who were (pretty keen) to get on A Little Too Cozy. You’re invited to join our studio audience for a live taping of “A Little Too Cozy,” where you’ll witness the final episode of the reality show that asks its contestants: “Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met?” As the episode kicks off, Cozy‘s final four contestants — Dora, Elmo, Fernando and Felicity — have found their match but, as expected, there’s always a catch.





Videos by @halfinchdfilms

Against the Grain Theatre’s “A Little Too Cozy” is a modern, English adaptation of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” that presents the comedy of manners as a wedding reality TV show in CBC Toronto’s Studio 42. May 12—21, 2016. Tickets ($35—$95) at

Your evening links: The Globe and Mail on Cozy

By | A Little Too Cozy, AtG in the News, Joel Ivany, Press | No Comments

The Globe and Mail have written not one but two(!) previews of A Little Too Cozy which we recommend reading:


Enter Joel Ivany and Topher Mokrzewski, the brilliant duo at the creative heart of Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre Company. On the one hand, what Ivany and Mokrzewski have done with Così fan tutte has a 220-year tradition behind it – because Ivany, too, has rewritten the story. But unlike all their previous adapter colleagues, the two have done something new – they have rewritten Così fan tutte to make it more itself, to make it both more relevant to our times and more relevant to its own times. Something of a minor miracle.

Continue reading Robert Harris’ “A Little Too Cozy updates Mozart for the reality-TV world”


It all makes perfect sense, this interpretation… All you have to do is look up a plot summary of Così fan tutte to see that it’s a hilarious farce no less ridiculous in its bones than The Bachelorette.

Continue reading TV critic John Doyle’s  “In defence of reality TV and so-called trash TV”


Meet the contestants of A Little Too Cozy

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Who’s on A Little Too Cozy?

Meet the final four contestants and read their interview with Schmopera.


Tenor Aaron Sheppard performs the role of Fernando (Ferrando). #TeamDora

Occupation: Day trader

Aaron Sheppard


Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb performs the role of Dora (Dorabella). #TeamDora

Occupation: Social media strategist

Rihab Chaieb


Baritone Clarence Frazer performs the role of Elmo (Guglielmo). #TeamFelicity

Occupation: Market analyst

Clarence Frazer


Soprano Shantelle Przybylo performs the role of Felicity (Fiordiligi). #TeamFelicity

Occupation: Ad agency accountant

Shantelle Przybylo