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Everything You Need to Know About Attending La Boheme

By | Ayre | No Comments

We’re looking forward to seeing you at La Boheme

Doors open at 7:30pm. The show begins at 8pm, and is approximately 2.5 hours including two 20-minute intermissions (so you can refresh our pianist’s drink at the bar).

Tickets

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”.) NB: If you can’t find your tickets, we can scan you in by first & last name. Just bring a government-issued ID.

All tickets are general admission and seating is cabaret-style, available on a first-come, first-seated basis. (So the earlier you arrive, the quicker you can choose your seat!) But don’t worry: If you have a ticket, you are guaranteed a seat. This venue is wheelchair accessible.

I can't find my ticket / I have a ticketing question

At-the-door/Rush Tickets

Have a friend who wants to attend the performance? Advance tickets for #AtGBoheme are now off-sale due to record-breaking interest. But! They can buy Rush Tickets (seated or standing room) at the door and line up for these (as early as 7pm or 7:30pm) outside the Tranzac. So far all people in the Rush line have been able to get in!

 

tranzac

About the Tranzac Club

Located off Bloor Street West, on 292 Brunswick Avenue, the historic Tranzac Club is one of the oldest dive bars in Toronto — and the site of our original 2011 production of #AtGBoheme.

The club is actually a multi-story performance space, with two front rooms and a second floor. We are performing on the main floor, in the back space.

 

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Getting here

Tranzac Club
292 Brunswick Ave, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y2

By car (Free parking after 6pm!)

PAID Green P Parking lots: 365 Lippincott S Of Bloor, Toronto, or 4 Spadina Rd, 334 TO 350 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5V3Y9. PAID metre parking on Bloor West (FREE after 9pm). FREE street parking (6pm–8am) on Brunswick Ave and residential side streets. Note: Brunswick is a one-way street, going south.

By TTC

Nearest subway stops: Bathurst or Spadina Station. Nearest 510 streetcar stop: Bloor & Spadina or Harbord & Spadina. Nearest bus stop: Harbord & Brunswick (94 Bus).

By bike

Bike locks available at the corner of Bloor and Brunswick. Bike lanes off Bloor, Harbord and Spadina.

Accessibility

The Tranzac Club’s entrance is fully accessible. Pull up in front of 292 Brunswick Ave and stop for a direct drop-off if desired. Note: Brunswick is a one-way street, going south.

life

What to expect

Drinks!

In keeping with the AtG spirit, The Tranzac is fully equipped with a bar (cash or Visa, ATM on site) right in our performance space, so you can bring your drinks to your seats.

Life-drawing!

You’ll notice that inside the venue, members of Toronto’s Ex Libris Arts (Jessie Durham and Dmitry Bondarenko) are recording our performances through a medium Puccini’s boho characters would approve of: life-drawing. Their sketches are for sale and they love chatting with curious appreciators of art, so visit them during the intermissions.

Discover Ex Libris Arts

Smartphones on and out!

Take photos and live-tweet all night, including during the show! (Just no flash, and absolutely no audio or video recording, please.) Use the hashtag #AtGBoheme and tag @AtGTheatre (social links below).

 

What to read

Check out these articles and previews

4 NNNNs: La Bohème set in contemporary Toronto soars | NOW Magazine

“English version of Puccini’s classic will entertain long-time opera fans and newcomers.”

Against the Grain’s La Bohème is Back for Round 2 | The Globe and Mail

“[With this production, they now stand as one of the most creative theatrical and musical grounds in the country.”

How a Toronto Neighbourhood Inspired a Homeground La Bohème | Musical Toronto

“The production’s accessibility to Toronto is unmissable, with references to familiar locations [like Future’s Bakery and BMV].”

A Very Bohemian Undertaking | Schmopera

“Would [Puccini] be proud? Probably not,” says Joel Ivany with a wry smile, of Against the Grain Theatre’s updated, translated version of La Bohème.

Read the house program Read more reviews

 

 

Photos:

Kimy Mc Laren as Mimi and Owen McCausland as Rodolfo in La Bohème 2017, Photo: Darryl Block
Tranzac Club, Photo: blogTO
Adanya Dunn as Musetta in La Bohème 2017, Photo: Darryl Block

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The reviews are in: La Boheme

By | AtG in the News, La Boheme, Press | No Comments

"Modest in concept but rich in imagination, it’s the don’t-miss performance of the month."

− Toronto Life

"AtG's La bohème is just as likely to make you laugh as it is to make you cry."

− Schmopera

"The production’s accessibility to Toronto audiences is unmissable, with references to familiar locations like Future’s Bakery and William Lyon MacKenzie on the Canadian currency."

− Musical Toronto

"With this production, they now stand as one of the most creative theatrical and musical groups in the country."

− The Globe and Mail

"It's intelligent, funny and very millennial... Topher Mokrzewski seems to play more notes on the piano than two hands have ever played — his orchestral reduction is lush."

− Broadway World

"A raucous, energetic, site-specific version of La Bohème, performed in an Annex club and featuring characters who are completely true to the spirit of Puccini’s original while also commenting on contemporary issues like soaring rents, hookup culture and millennial underemployment."

− NOW Magazine

Read the reviews:

La Boheme set in contemporary Toronto soars | NOW Magazine

AtG’s La bohème Revival Fresh And Endearing | Musical Toronto

La Bohème Review | Opera Going Toronto

AtG’s La Bohème six years on | Operaramblings

Hype for a reason: AtG’s La bohème | Schmopera

Rent in the 6ix Meets Opera in Against the Grain Theatre’s LA BOHÈME | Broadway World

Against the Grain’s La Bohème II closes a sold-out run | Definitely the Opera

Read the previews:

Against The Grain’s La Bohème is back for round 2 | The Globe and Mail

A very Bohemian undertaking | Schmopera

How A Toronto Neighbourhood Inspired A Homegrown La bohème | Musical Toronto

A comprimario amid a “huge, sweeping, romantic love story” | Schmopera

A free Meat Loaf concert, an opera in a bar and six other things to see, do, read and hear this week | Toronto Life

CRITIC’S PICKS: 9 Classical Music Shows You Should Absolutely See This Week | Musical Toronto

 

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The Rent is Too Damn High

By | La Boheme | No Comments

Each week, the editors of  La Bohème newspaper pick a theme for their issue, and solicit real stories from real Torontonians. This week’s story: “The Rent Is Too Damn High”

Recently, Craigslist listed a semi-private studio apartment for $1,750/month. This apartment, which the ad described as being “full of character” and offering “a unique immersive experience of Toronto’s vibrant street life,” is actually an unroofed laneway off Brunswick Avenue.

“When you look around, there’s no realer place for a writer. This is what Balzac and Hugo were talking about,” Rodolfo said. An aspiring screenwriter, he rents the laneway with an OCAD student named Marcello, who is is transforming their refurbished furniture into an art project for GradEx. “It’s a conversation-starter with our guests. Or any pedestrians that wander into the laneway, really. And the silver lining is there’s always a parking space available. If we ever have a car, that’ll be cool.” Originally from Ottawa, Rodolfo was unfamiliar with Toronto’s neighbourhoods, but he’d seen Kids in the Hall, and, he said, “I pretty much knew I was going to live in the West End.”

Rodolfo continues, “The rent is pretty reasonable for this area.” He’d checked out one-bedroom apartments in Queen West, where the average monthly rent is $1,900 (plus utilities) a month. He almost signed one of those apartments but he didn’t have the necessary paperwork to close the deal: landlords now demand 10 post-dated cheques, first and last month’s rent, a cleaning deposit, a repair deposit (your landlord isn’t going to fix that thing on their own), a reference letter from all former employers going back five years, dental records, access to social media accounts and, in some cases, a fresh urine sample. So, Rodolfo eventually landed here: the Mirvish Village laneway with “unbeatable” rent.

The laneway is prone to intermittent power outages. The thin insulation makes heating a wild fantasy. (From the ad: “This laneway has EXPOSED BRICK! The brick from the outside of the building is visible from inside the laneway!!!”) The smell can only be described as “ripe.” And the landlord prefers the housemates have “NO guests and MUST be there as little as possible during the day.” But its location boasts the the Holy Trinity of “B’s” worshipped by every twentysomething: Beer, brunch, and BMV.

And, Rodolfo adds, “It could be worse. At least it’s not Liberty Village, right?”

When asked for comment, landlord Benoît Baule stated that he planned to raise the rent by $250 a month when the current lease expires in June.

In this issue, we tackle the beast that is the Toronto rental market (will it cool down with Ontario’s recently introduced Fair Housing Plan?), hear from the other side (the landlord), and profile broke folks still living large and aspiring to the bourgeois life.

Image: blogTO

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What I learned from trying (and failing and trying again) to evict my deadbeat tenants

By | La Boheme | No Comments

Gregory FinneyBy Benoît Baule, special to La Bohème

Each week, the editors of La Bohème newspaper pick a theme for their issue, and solicit real stories from real Torontonians. In our “Rent Is Too Damn High” issue, our Perspectives Column was penned by concerned citizen and landlord Benoît Baule.

We’ve all read stories about the lousy kinds of landlords around our great city. In the last few years, “The Six” has seen a spate of terrible, just terrible landlords treating their tenants badly. They ignore repairs, raise the rent, or evict without notice — you name it. But, I have to ask: What do you do if it’s the tenants who are the problem?

I live in the West End* and I’ve been a very successful, very trustworthy landlord in Toronto for many years. I rent properties in Corso Italia, Little Italy, the Annex and the former Mirvish Village area — and I have to tell you, nobody’s ever had a problem with me. Ask any of my old renters and they’ll say, “Benoît? Big Ben? Most trustworthy landlord I ever had. What a guy.”**

Now, the problem tenants in question, who are a couple of young guys, rent an apartment on Brunswick Street. I admit it’s no Palais Royale. But I charge a modest, competitive rate and I include hot water and a parking space — and they still act like they live in a cave. I just heard complaints that they were burning a fire — a literal fire — in the living room for heat, which I’m sure is because they had their electricity cut for not paying their bills. I haven’t gotten a rent payment from these two “artists” in months, but whenever I show up to get my money, guess what? There’s always drinks available! I have a line of potential renters who would kill for a great apartment like this one, and wouldn’t stiff me month after month with promises of “Once my script gets picked up” and on and on…

I’m a patient guy, and I’ve tried many, many times to get them out of there. Somehow, they end up appealing to my sense of goodwill and charity, and I give them another chance. My wife was right, I need to be tougher with these tenants. But I can’t help it. I guess I’m just a humanist.

I’ve got no choice left but to go over there and give them official notice that come the New Year, New People will be living in that space — ones who’ll understand that you can’t take advantage of Big Ben.

———

*Oakville

**Note from the Editor: Former tenants declined to respond to our request for veracity.

Against the Grain Theatre Opera Pub at Amsterdam Bicycle Club. Photo: Darryl Block

La Bohème 🍁 is SOLD OUT (for now)

By | La Boheme | No Comments

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Moses_et_Aaron_3_

Moses and Aaron with a Live Performance by AtG

By | AtG in the News, Upcoming | No Comments

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

The first ever Toronto retrospective of one of the most important and influential filmmaking teams in cinema history, Not Reconciled: The Films of Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet runs March 3–April 2, 2017 at TIFF Bell Lightbox.

Presented in partnership with

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La Bohème, Toronto-Style 🍁

By | La Boheme | No Comments

On sale Feb 1 at 10am
Running May 19–June 2

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’ll see you at the bar.

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RGD Jury names AtG’s creative identity “one of the top case studies in 2016”

By | AtG in the News, Design, Press | No Comments

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.

—RGD

Click here to read the full article on the top case studies selected

Click here to read Michael’s case study about designing our visual identity

 

pelleaset melisande

New Upstairs Neighbours

By | AtG in the News, Behind the scenes, Canadian Opera Company | No Comments

There is nothing quite like last week’s season launch.  There’s cheek-kissing, and glass-raising, and a hall filled with tipsy opera fanatics.  Conversations are all abuzz with season suspicions and differing opinions.  And here we are, tucked up in the third ring listening for AtG’s introduction into the COC Company in Residence Program.  Cue the applause!

But what does this mean for AtG?

AtG is in a period of growth which many emerging opera organizations are faced with as they seek to reach a place of sustainability.  As our company grows, our talented administrative infrastructure must be strengthened and supported so that we can reach our full organizational potential.  AtG will be in what we are calling an incubation period as the COC Company in Residence.  As we nest with the COC, we continue to groom our organizational goals with the mentorship and resources of industry professionals at the COC.  And as we develop in this program, we are shaping the residency to be unique to us and our needs as an emerging opera company while operating independently and creating our own administrative guidelines.  We are bringing the company forward through innovative company relationships with the COC.

We now have designated headquarters on the fourth floor at 227 Front Street East, and our office almost overlooks the gazebo outback.  Sky Blue Sky Sandwich Company is just a simple e-order away and  Rooster Coffee is busy with opera’s rising stars sipping coffees and reading scores.  AtG should fit right in.

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Against the Grain Theatre Opera Pub at Amsterdam Bicycle Club. Photo: Darryl Block

Opera Pub – Un-Valentine’s Day Edition

By | La Boheme, Opera Pub | No Comments

Join us! For a raucous un-Valentine’s Day evening
as we sing hits from Puccini’s LA BOHEME (and more)
because
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.

About AtG’s Opera Pubs

“It can all get a little wild.”
againstthegraintheatre.com/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