All posts by Amanda Hadi

Ismaili Centre Toronto by Amanda Hadi

A performance that lets you wander through a sacred hall

By | Ayre | No Comments

Our upcoming performance Ayre: An Evening of Osvaldo Golijov is actually an immersive experience. Upon your arrival to the Ismaili Centre, Toronto, you’ll be taken to various parts of the hall to experience “Part I” of our evening. This includes Jamelie Hassan’s exhibition Light Upon Light, and special concert of three of the composer’s short works performed by the Glenn Gould Ensemble and sopranos Adanya Dunn and Ellen McAteer. Surrounded by Islamic art and architecture, from centuries-old tapestries to contemporary mosaics and intricately carved ivory walls, you’ll be transfixed and transported by the evening.

Yiddishbbuk (1992)

“A broken song played on a shattered cimbalom.” Thus, writes Kafka, begins Yiddishbbuk, a collection of apocryphal psalms. Golijov attempts to reconstruct that disappeared music, creating a three-movement work “in the mode of the Babylonic Lamentations.”

Lúa Descolorida (2002)

Based on a poem by 19th-century romanticist María Rosalía de Castro and written in Gallego (the language of Spain’s Galician region), this haunting nocturne is sung by a lover to the moon.

Tenebrae (2002)

Golijov imagined this music “as the slow, quiet reading of an illuminated medieval manuscript.” Melismatic elongations of syllables from the Hebrew alphabet signal the beginning of new chapters, leading to the ending section built around a single, repeated word: “Jerusalem.”

 

Buy tickets to Ayre (November 10, 11, 12 2016)

ayre2

WholeNote Magazine: “Genres fused in Ayre”

By | Uncategorized | No Comments

Christopher Hoile writes in the latest issue of WholeNote Magazine:

“A third production in November also breaks contemporary notions of genre. This is the song cycle Ayre (2004) by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov (born 1960) presented by Against the Grain Theatre from November 10 to 12 at the Ismaili Centre. The title in medieval Spanish means “air” in both the sense of “song” and the air we breathe. The song cycle is a juxtaposition of Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian and Sephardic folk melodies and texts. The soloist will be Miriam Khalil accompanied by an 11-member ensemble with stage direction by AtG founder and artistic director Joel Ivany and lighting by Jason Hand. Golijov, Ivany and Khalil all met at Banff this past summer and Golijov sat in on rehearsals of the piece. Though not an opera, critics have repeatedly called the work “dramatic.” Ivany says this is the first time anyone has “taken the work a step further” by staging it. He says, “Miriam will have memorized the entire piece and will thus be free to use movement and gesture to illuminate the texts and to tie them together visually.” Ivany is excited that Golijov plans to attend the first two of the performances in Toronto.”

Against the Grain Theatre Opera Pub

Opera Pub returns November 3

By | Opera Pub | No Comments

We weren’t sure what to expect at our inaugural Opera Pub event. But last Thursday, more than 100 music fans, and friends (and a handful of folks who had no idea what they were in for) turned up at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club to hear some Friends of AtG Sing the Operatic Hits.

A huge thanks to performers Krisztina Szabó, Aaron Durand, Stephanie Tritchew, Clarence Frazer, Cait Wood and John Brancy, and maestro Topher Mokrzewski, who banged out the tunes on our newly-bought Craigslist piano.

“A packed house of opera enthusiasts were reminded of the joys of spontaneous music-making at Against the Grain Theatre’s first edition of Opera Pub, their new series of casual concerts where you can experience music in a different space with a beer in hand and not many rules…. It had the feeling of an after party when musicians kicked back, loosened up and playfully made music with their friends.”—Musical Toronto

“It was loud, it was fun and the audience, not all of whom I suspect knew what they were in for, stayed.”—Opera Ramblings

Opera Pubs run the first Thursday of every Month

The next event:
November 3, 2016 at 9pm
Amsterdam Bicycle Club
To sign up to sing, email toph@againstthegraintheatre.com
RSVP to our Facebook event

John Brancy with Topher Mokrzewski Opera Pub

John Brancy with Topher Mokrzewski

Impromptu waltz time with Caitlin Wood and Clarence Frazer Opera Pub

Impromptu waltz time with Caitlin Wood and Clarence Frazer

atg volunteers

Work with AtG!

By | Ayre, Volunteer | No Comments

We’re looking for friendly and outgoing volunteers for Ayre (November 10, 11, 12), taking place at the Ismaili Centre, Toronto. This is your chance to get a behind-the-scenes look at our production process, learn from our crew, hear fantastic music and, of course, hang out with some awesome people. To get involved for one, two, or as many performances as you like, email us here! (And don’t forget to tag/share with any friends who might be interested.)

Photo: Brent Calis

AtG Opera Pub at the Legion. Photo: Brent Callis

AtG Opera Pub nights at Amsterdam Bicycle Club

By | Opera Pub | No Comments

Happening the first Thursday of every month

Next events: October 13 & November 3 at 9pm
The Amsterdam Bicycle Club
54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON, M5E 1A6

Want to perform at the next Opera Pub? Email toph@againstthegraintheatre.com

AtG Opera Pub nights are relaxed, casual nights out that offer up your favourite beer on tap with a side of operatic arias and ensembles, performed by both established and emerging opera talent.

Joel and Topher chatted with Jenna Douglas at Schmopera about the idea behind Opera Pub:

“There are times when we might begin,” says AtG Music Director Christopher Mokrzewski, “and a few bar regulars, who may not have known this was going to happen, find themselves totally absorbed by the spectacle. Or they hate it and leave. Either outcome is okay, as far as I’m concerned.”

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.

Ivany has seen the results for himself in Oslo, and more recently in Banff. “One of my most memorable Opera Pubs was hearing Caitlin Wood singing an aria from Giulio Cesare,” he says. “It was exciting, it was electric and the audience was cheering and clapping DURING the aria. It seemed that she was fueled by the energy and put it into each ornament. Was very cool.”

Read more here

Photo: Brent Calis

Joel Ivany

News: “Has Against The Grain Theatre’s Time Finally Come?”

By | AtG in the News, Canadian Opera Company, La Boheme, Opera Pub, Press | No Comments

Musical Toronto is getting pumped for our 2016/2017 season, calling it a (possibly) pivotal year for AtG.

Finally, there just might be some big resources to back their big ideas.

Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) offered a box full of opera goodies this week with the announcement of their upcoming 2016–17 season. AtG fans will see a return of a bar-bound La bohème, a monthly opera pub night, and a new gilded residency with the Canadian Opera Company.

Read the full article.

 

 

 

A Little Too Cozy

Wanna audition for AtG? Now’s your chance!

By | Auditions | No Comments

In preparation for the 2016–2017 season, Joel Ivany, Artistic Director of Against the Grain Theatre, Topher Mokrzewski, Music Director of Against the Grain Theatre, and Founding Member Miriam Khalil, will be holding general auditions. AND! Because Thursday, September 29 filled up so quickly, we’ve added a day: Wednesday, September 28!

Wednesday, September 28, 10am-6pm *NEWLY ADDED*

Thursday September 29, 10am-6pm *NOW BOOKED UP*

Mazzoleni Hall, The Royal Conservatory of Music

273 Bloor Street West

Toronto Ontario M5S 1W2

Want to audition? Click here to book your time slot. 

The deadline for bookings is 5pm on Tuesday September 27, 2016. Priority will be given to Equity artists.

Good luck!

Miriam Khalil

Up next: An Evening with Against the Grain Theatre at Ottawa Chamberfest

By | AtG in the News, Ayre, Upcoming | No Comments

This Saturday, we reteam with the Ottawa International Chamber Music Festival to present two dynamic song cycles. Mezzo-soprano Lauren Segal and tenor Colin Ainsworth join forces with AtG Music Director Topher Mokrzewski in a reading of Leoš Janáček’s emotional and mysterious The Diary of One Who Disappeared (which AtG first presented in 2013). Soprano Miriam Khalil and a cohort of 11 instrumentalists unleash Argentinean-born composer Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre, a lush fusion of Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian, and Sephardic folk melodies and texts.

Saturday, July 30 at 7pm
Dominion-Chalmers United Church
355 Cooper St, Ottawa, ON

Click here to buy tickets

Topher Mokrzewski at the piano. Photo: Darryl Block

National Post: How Against The Grain changed the opera game with modernized productions in bars, galleries and studios

By | A Little Too Cozy, AtG in the News, Ayre, Press, The Rape of Lucretia | No Comments

Writer Catherine Kustanczy just blew our minds with this glowing editorial in The National Post on how “AtG became one of Canada’s top opera companies.”

Read the full article here.

AtG's Messiah

AtG’s Messiah is now a Dora Award-winner

By | AtG in the News, AtG's Messiah, Dora Awards | No Comments

Last month, the 37th annual Dora Mavor Moore Awards honoured some of the best in opera, including our friends at the Canadian Opera Company and Tapestry Opera. We’re very happy to say that our incomparable cast for AtG’s Messiah picked up a Dora trophy for Outstanding Performance — Ensemble (Opera Division). There was much celebrating , libation-ing, and Hallelujah-ing.

dora win messiah 2016