Category Archives: AtG in the News

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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

tiff partner logo

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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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Jonathan Russell MacArthur

Meet our new Interim General Manager

By | AtG in the News, Behind the scenes | No Comments

Our fabulous General Manager Joanna Barrotta is taking some time away from AtG — as she’s making an exciting move to the Hammer! But we’re happy to announce that Jonathan MacArthur will be stepping in as Interim GM. You may have seen him both in performance and administrative roles around town: he was most recently the GM of FAWN Chamber Creative, and has worked with Tapestry Opera.  Please join us in welcoming Jon!

“I’m over the moon to be a member of AtG, and am ready to get my feet wet! This is an incredible opportunity for me as an arts administrator, and I am totally thrilled and honoured to call myself an Against the Grain-er. I look forward to being a part of one of Toronto’s hottest opera gangs, and can’t wait to bring Bohème back to this city’s devoted opera goers.”

Jonathan MacArthur is known as both a producer and performer in the Toronto arts scene. He is a Masters graduate of the University of Toronto Opera program, and has studied abroad at the Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory and the Saint-Petersburg State University in Russia. He is a passionate performer of the Baroque and New Music genres, and was an ensemble member of AtG’s Dora Award winning performance of AtG’s Messiah. Having worked closely with FAWN Chamber Creative, and Tapestry Opera, Jonathan adds another colourful feather to his Indie Opera TO hat as interim General Manager at AtG.

Against the Grain Theatre Ayre, starring Miriam Khalil. Photo: Darryl Block

The reviews are in: Ayre

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

"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."

− barczablog

"Khalil's performance is stunning, and to hear her sing Golijov's work adds a new level of admiration for her versatility."

− Schmopera

"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."

− Schmopera

 

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.

—Ian Ritchie

 

Read more reviews and previews:

In Review: Ayre Schmopera

Review: Ayre | Opera Going Toronto

Against the Grain’s Ayre is a vital reminder that unity is possible | The Globe and Mail

Ayre: An Evening with Osvaldo Golijov | Opera Ramblings

Review: Ayre | barczablog

Don’t miss Ayre | Schmopera

Against the Grain’s Ayre to deliver powerful evening of cultural mash-ups | The Globe and Mail

Critic’s Pick | Musical Toronto

What to see this week in Toronto | Toronto Life

Genres fused in Ayre | WholeNote Magazine

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.

 

 

 

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

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.”