Category Archives: AtG in the News

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

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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”

 

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”

 

Joel Ivany makes his COC mainstage directing debut with Bizet’s Carmen

By | AtG in the News, Joel Ivany | No Comments

We’re just going to go out and say it: Joel has been a bizet man (hard to resist the pun) this season. In just a few days, he makes his mainstage directorial debut with the Canadian Opera Company’s Carmen, and the AtG team couldn’t be prouder. Read the links below to find out more, and don’t forget to book your ticketsCarmen runs April 12 to May 15 at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts.

By night, Ivany is the founder and one of the artistic leaders of Against the Grain Theatre, perhaps Toronto’s most creative opera producers, responsible for their great and highly original Mozart adaptations.

Read more from The Globe and Mail: “Director Joel Ivany delivers a production of Carmen you can trust”

Although the sets date back to that 2005 production, he and set/costume design coordinator Camellia Koo have tweaked it to create, as he puts it, “a Carmen 2.0.” In preparation, Ivany sat in every section of the 2,000-seat hall to see what the stage picture would be like.

Read more from NOW Magazine: “Who’s afraid of opera?”

Photo: Anita Rachvelishvili as Carmen (centre) as Alain Coulombe as Zuniga looks on (at left) in the Canadian Opera Company production of  Carmen, 2016. Conductor Paolo Carignani, director Joel Ivany, set designer Michael Yeargan, costume designer François St-Aubin, lighting designer Jason Hand, and set & costume design co-ordinator Camellia Koo. Photo: Michael Cooper

AtG’s refreshed look

By | AtG in the News, Design | No Comments

Over the years our signature tree logo (and that cheeky bird*) became a beloved part of the company’s identity, and we’ll be forever grateful to Carrie Klassen for creating our very first brand as a fledgling collective.

AtG is growing and evolving, and with that comes a visual refresh. Michael Barker of Acme Art & Design put on his thinking cap and set out to capture the essence of who we are and what we do. The good news was that the members of the AtG collective share great taste (and loads of modesty, obviously) and we came to some conclusions fairly quickly about what we want to communicate to the world through our brand.

But that doesn’t easily translate to a visual representation. How do you capture the essence of AtG in a logo? Well, Michael had the answer. He played with references to wood grain, sound waves, vinyl grooves (records) and the letter “O”, and eventually came up with the bent design you see here. The design also exists in many changeable variations — a riff on the fluid nature of our company, which performs unconventional productions in unconventional spaces. Cool, right?

AtG offers its deepest thanks to Michael, who really hit this out of the park for us. What do you think? Share your thoughts with @AtGTheatre on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

*Our cheeky bird may still make an appearance from time to time.

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Toronto Star: Joel Ivany “a Torontonian to watch in 2016”

By | AtG in the News, Joel Ivany, Press | No Comments

I’ve been waiting for 2016 to arrive for some time.

Creatively you love having different sized canvases to use. I’m lucky enough that several projects this coming calendar year are not like each other. I’m lucky to work with The Toronto Symphony Orchestra for the first time in their big venue, Roy Thomson Hall. Then I make my Main Stage debut at the Four Season Centre for the Arts, directing Carmen for the Canadian Opera Company. Before the summer hits, we’re planning on presenting A Little Too Cozy which will be in a much smaller venue for a much smaller capacity.

The very cool aspect of all of these projects is that they all happen in Toronto. Anyone who works in opera, and if they’re working in opera, knows that your career will take you all over the world. To have three unique projects line up in your hometown is a treat.

The Toronto Star picked up on this and I was honoured to be considered for their list of Torontonians who are set to have big 2016’s.

Very thankful for the people around me who have made these opportunities possible. Toronto is a great city for the arts and for opera.

Joel Ivany

Toronto’s arts and culture scene should be as vibrant as ever in the new year. But for five city residents in particular — representing a range of disciplines from pop music and literature to art, opera and film — 2016 will present an opportunity to test their skills and creativity to the max.

JOEL IVANY
Joel Ivany’s long apprenticeship is paying off.

After studying opera at the University of the Toronto, Ivany, 35, did further study in Norway, Ireland, Washington and Minnesota before coming back to Toronto and founding his own independent company, Against the Grain Theatre, which he calls a “small and scrappy company which is growing with each production.”

His Dora-winning work has not gone unnoticed by two of the biggest players in the Toronto cultural landscape.
On Jan. 21, Ivany’s production of Mozart’s Requiem with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra will debut at Roy Thomson Hall.

On April 12, Ivany will oversee a production of Carmen for the Canadian Opera Company.

“In North America, let alone the world, (the COC) is increasingly becoming known as a landing spot for top artists, for singers, for directors, for productions. So to be included in that company is very humbling, especially for someone who is Canadian, and grew up and trained in Canada,” Ivany said.

Death & Desire makes Globe and Mail’s Best of 2015

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Globe and Mail critic John Doyle gave some love to our Spring 2015 production of Death & Desire in this roundup of top cultural moments of the year:

Death & Desire, at the Neubacher Shor Contemporary Gallery, Toronto

A mild evening in June in a tiny art gallery. A man strode to the piano and began playing Schubert. Two singers wandered through the audience. What ensued was dazzling, a rapturous evocation of naive, unbridled desire meeting neurotic, unfocussed longing. The naive desire was male, Stephen Hegedus singing Schubert’s delicate, inflamed Die Schone Mullerin (The Miller’s Lovely Daughter); and the manic longing was in Krisztina Szabo performing Olivier Messiaen’s starkly distraught Harawi: Chant d’amour et de mort (Song of Love and Death). This was Against the Grain’s Death & Desire, a fabulously inspired mash-up. Simply done, it was the most unforgettable night of the year and made, as a poet said, one little room an everywhere.

See more 2015 roundups that included Death & Desire:

2015 in Review | Opera Ramblings
“There was also much to like in the category of hard to define productions. Against the Grain produced two fine combinations of music and choreography. Death and Desire; a mash up of Die Schöne Müllerin and Messiaen’s Harawi featured a searing performance from Krisztina Szabó, well paired with Stephen Hegedus.”

Jon Kaplan’s Top 10 Theatre Artists of 2015 | NOW Magazine
“Mezzo Krisztina Szabó was equally haunting in the double bill of Die Schöne Müllerin/Harawi.”

End of Year Highlights | Definitely the Opera
Death & Desire named a 2015 highlight.