We have some news – great for us, but maybe sad for you: AtG’s La Bohème has completely sold out. And when I say “sold out,” I mean all of our tickets for our 8 performances — even for our new show date, May 31 — have gone like the wind. This was our earliest on-sale ever (a full 3.5 months ahead of the show date), and the fastest we have ever sold out the entire run of a show. We’re overwhelmed, gobsmacked and happy but also trying to figure out what that means for possible new fans of AtG who wanted to check out our hit show but maybe waited just a little too long to get their act together.
Stay tuned: We’ll have updates about whether we can offer additional seats/tickets as soon as possible.
In the meantime:
Attend our free Opera Pubs. Running the first Thursday of every month, AtG Opera Pub nights are improvised, wild nights that offer up your favourite beer with a side of operatic arias and ensembles, performed by both established and emerging opera talent performed on our very own Craigslist piano. Free admission, $3.50 bottles of beer. Next event: 6 April 2017, at 9pm.
Get tickets to our March 12 show: A concert of Viver and Schoenberg at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Tickets are $14 ($12 for TIFF Members) and include admission to a screening of Schoenberg’s unfinished opera Moses and Aaron.
BIG NEWS: We’re getting cinematic at TIFF Bell Lightbox. This March 12, we’ve partnered with TIFF to present a special live performance of an operatic work by Arnold Schoenberg ahead of their screening of Moses and Aaron by acclaimed filmmaker duo Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet. Featuring soprano Adanya Dunn with Topher Mokrzewski on piano. Limited seating, tickets in link below.
Sunday, March 12 at 3:15pm TIFF Bell Lightbox 350 King Street West, Toronto
AtG’s La Bohème: Where an artist, a musician, a writer, a philosophy student and a not-so-happy landlord might cross paths in 2017 Toronto.
Everything about Puccini’s hyper-popular 1896 opera is relatable today: low-income artists and freelancers still haunt cafes, landlords will still “forget” to turn on the heat, and rent is still too damn high.
Pull a group of twentysomethings off the street on Bloor West — and that’s the cast of La Bohème.
In 2011, instead of trying to “bring new audiences to the opera house,” (and because we lacked an opera house entirely) we created a production that brought the opera to them—to the places our friends might hang out after work for a very, very cheap beer.
Our adaptation still kept Puccini’s characters and music, but we retold it for a contemporary audience, in English. And the story actually took place where folks were watching at the Tranzac Club: In Act I, Rodolfo and Marcello were sitting at shared tables with the audience. In Act II, the bar at the end of the room became the Café Momus.
This production, created on a shoestring budget by a handful of founding members, started our company. And it also began the tradition of convincing Music Director Topher Mokrzewski to become a one-man orchestra using an upright piano. (We think he’s OK with it now.)
So if you’re hungry for an updated #AtGBoheme with an entirely new cast, and want to see why Toronto is becoming one of the freshest destinations for opera, save the date:
At 10am on February 1, we start selling tickets to our 100-seat venue at the Tranzac Club.
We couldn’t be prouder to have a visual identity created by our friend Michael Barker at Acme Art and Design… The fact that it’s now an acclaimed case study is just icing on the cake. This month, an esteemed RGD jury selected Michael’s case study about our AtG rebrand as “one of the top case studies in 2016.”
Acme Art & Design captures the spirit of a unique cultural experience with visual identity for Against the Grain Theatre
A powerful graphic and clever visual device that tickles your brain and pulls you directly into the purpose of the client – clearly demonstrating what Against the Grain Theatre looks like and invites you to learn more.
Join us! For a raucous un-Valentine’s Day evening
as we sing hits from Puccini’s LA BOHEME (and more)
Nothing says “romance” like watching young bohemian couples unable to pay their rent and slowly dying of tuberculosis.
Thursday, February 2 at 9pm at The Amsterdam Bicycle Club 54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON Free admission
Tickets to our next show, a remount of our smash-hit La Bohème, go on sale February 1. You can get a preview of the production at this free Opera Pub.
Running the first Thursday of every month, AtG Opera Pub nights are improvised, wild nights that offer up your favourite beer on tap with a side of operatic arias and ensembles, performed by both established and emerging opera talent. Free admission, $3.50 bottles of beer.
“[Opera Pub] has the feeling of an after party when musicians kick back, loosen up and playfully make music with their friends.” —Musical Toronto
“It’s a simple idea, and one that could be a fantastic introduction for an opera newcomer. In the familiar environment of a pub, with no oppressive silence or close-quarters seating, people can enjoy opera in short bursts. Listeners have a drink in hand, they can get up and leave whenever they want, and they’re essentially left wanting more. Opera truly is best consumed live, and it’s hard to get more real-life than in a cozy pub.” —Schmopera
Ayre “was one of those nights when you go to a show and immediately wish you could see it again after the curtain.” —Schmopera
The Rape of LucretiaandA Little Too Cozy: “Another good year for AtG.” —Opera Ramblings
A Little Too Cozy: “Smart, engaging, fun, brilliant.” —PlayAnon
Ayre “represented what I believe will be an increasingly important direction in classical music; an approach that not only looks, but sounds like our ever-changing cultural mosaic.”
Liked what you saw this year? We have big plans for 2017, including an ambitious remount of La Bohème, and need your help. Your financial support goes directly into producing our next opera, and helps us hire young Canadian artists who are itching for more opportunities.
If you’ve ever wanted to help out, now’s your chance. Each and every dollar makes a difference. (And makes a great holiday present in someone’s name.)
We’ve got a beautiful new Google Form to make the signup process even simpler. Enter your information here to sing at our Thursday, January 5 Opera Pub, held at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club (54 The Esplanade, Toronto).
"Ayre is a perfect and tremendously satisfying example of cultural transcendence."
− The Globe and Mail
"The stars aligned with this project... Miriam's authenticity is palpable, whether in the romantic songs or the call to uprising."
"Khalil's performance is stunning, and to hear her sing Golijov's work adds a new level of admiration for her versatility."
"This performance was that rare thing that raises the hairs on the back of your neck."
− Opera Ramblings
"An evening of power and resonance, the kind of which deep memories are fashioned."
− The Globe and Mail
"Shocking, brilliant, thrilling. It's all conquering, a concert production of major importance, a flawless synchronicity of music and theatre."
− Opera Going Toronto
"Miriam Khalil is spellbinding, her voice at turns lustrous and radiant, savage and snarling."
− Opera Going Toronto
"Like the whole audience, I was suspended in this stasis of stirred emotion — the repercussions of which were felt long after the final bows were taken."
Invited by Ivany to address the audience on opening night, the shy, softspoken composer Osvaldo Golijov remarked, eyes twinkling, “Nations play a lot of different roles in history. Conflicts, they stay the same. Only the actors are different.”
By promoting Golijov’s vision of culture as a permeable wrapper, Against the Grain Theatre has injected a much needed dose of optimism into these uncertain times. Ayre is filled with spirit, soaring, crushed, defiant. But hope like Golijov’s music has a way of insinuating itself into the soul. We need to hear the message. Now more than ever.
Doors open at 7:30pm. Part I of our concert (three short works by Osvaldo Golijov) begins at 8pm; there is a 20-minute intermission and Part II, our fully staged presentation of Ayre, begins at 9:20pm.
Please note: This email is not your ticket. Check your inbox for your electronic tickets from TicketLeap, which you can print or display to us on your phone/tablet for entry. (In the TicketLeap email, click the link “Download the barcode ticket”.)
Set within a 6.8 hectare park, the Ismaili Centre shares a site with the Aga Khan Museum—and both have been acclaimed as twin masterpieces, designed by two of the world’s greatest architects: Charles Correa of Mumbai and Fumihiko Maki of Japan.
The entire complex is a harmonious union of the spiritual, artistic and natural worlds, and a space designed for reflection, gathering, and celebration.
The Ismaili Centre
49 Wynford Drive
Toronto, ON M3C 1K1
By car (Free parking!)
The Ismaili Centre has two parking lots which they are offering to Ayreticket-holders at no cost (so ignore those pay-parking machines). We recommend parking in the spacious, underground parking lot. Access this lot by entering the Ismaili Centre drive and making a right. Attendants will be on hand to direct you.
From Eglington Subway Station, take the 34C Eglinton East bus, which stops just outside the Ismaili Centre.
The Ismaili Centre’s entrance is fully accessible. Drive up the valet parkade and stop for a direct drop-off if desired.
What to expect
Wander through sacred halls
Ayre: An Evening of Osvaldo Golijov is actually an immersive, two-part experience. “Part I” of our evening features a promenade of music and art: you’ll walk down sacred halls to experience an exhibition by artist Jamelie Hassan and a special concert of three short works by the composer, performed by the Glenn Gould Ensemble and sopranos Adanya Dunn and Ellen McAteer. After a short intermission, we begin “Part II”, our staged presentation of Ayre.
Enjoy complimentary coffee, tea, mango & pomegranate juice, lemon water and delicious Middle Eastern cookies — courtesy our wonderful hosts at the Ismaili Centre.
Take photos and live-tweet before the performance, during intermission, and after the performance. (Just no audio or video recording, please.) Use the hashtag #AtGAyre and @atgtheatre on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat.
What to read
In many worlds at the same time
In 2004, Osvaldo Golijov wrote his song cycle Ayre for a voice nobody had heard before. Toronto writer Nikita Gourski recounts the music’s criss-crossing pilgrimage from the mind of an Argentine-Jewish composer-in-exile to the voice of a Lebanese-Canadian soprano.
“It’s important for [Toronto’s classical music scene] to get outside their comfort zone and reflect the diversity of the city.”
Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil and director Joel Ivany stopped by the Ismaili Centre Toronto to explore the cultural threads of Osvaldo Golijov’s electric song cycle Ayre. (The title in medieval Spanish means “air” in both the sense of “song” and the air we breathe.)
Ayre: An Evening of Osvaldo Golijov is presented in partnership with the Aga Khan Council for Canada, and the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory of Music.