Category Archives: Behind the scenes

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A mash-up of Handel’s music with a new transladaptation

By | Behind the scenes, Bound, Joel Ivany, Media Release, Press | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 31 October, 2017

BOUND uses baroque music to highlight stories of citizen displacement, fear, hope and reconciliation

TORONTO — This December, Against the Grain Theatre’s Artistic Director Joel Ivany matches one of opera’s most dramatic composers to a narrative inspired by the current, chilling refugee stories populating our newsfeeds: stories of migration and displacement due to war, discrimination, hate, and intolerance. The result is a newly created AtG “transladaptation” for the 21st century, BOUND, which will break down Handel arias and ensembles in form and text, and reconstruct them to highlight the current state of those displaced, dehumanized and mistreated across the globe.

“Handel was one of opera’s most dramatic composers,” says director Joel Ivany of the source inspiration for BOUND. “His music constantly explored stories of abandonment, neglect and betrayal. We aim to look at contemporary world events through his musical lens.”

To bring Handel’s music into the present, Ivany and AtG Founding Member and Music Director Topher Mokrzewski collaborate with recent Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award winner, composer Kevin Lau, who will introduce new sound ideas and compositional devices. BOUND will be developed at the Canadian Opera Company’s Jackman Studio over multiple weeks of workshop sessions with finished presentations, featuring the piano accompaniment of Mokrzewski, that will showcase the intensive weeks of development. This is the first iteration of a three-year concept-to-realization production: each year, the workshop will focus on different aspects of operatic creation, from sets and costume design, to orchestral transcription. Over the next few seasons, BOUND will continue to develop, grow and return in new forms.

“We’re looking at how we as artists can express ourselves in a political capacity using our strengths, and our voice,” Ivany continued. “At a time where the world seems to be spinning away from hope and unity, BOUND will look to moments of beauty, acceptance and diversity. These are themes that are important now more than ever to iterate, proclaim and stand by.”

The premise: Seven citizens are detained by a government and held against their will in a waiting room; the audience will watch and hear about their struggles, hopes and fears. Drawing from the experiences of artists, and individuals the world over, BOUND will be a Handel mash-up for the ages.

The cast of BOUND features a roster of Canadian talent, including COC Ensemble member and soprano Danika Lorèn, recent DORA Award-winner and tenor Asitha Tennekoon, counter-tenor David Trudgen, baritoneJustin Welsh, bass Michael Uloth, mezzo-soprano Victoria Marshall and AtG Founding Member and soprano Miriam Khalil. This workshop will be lit by Resident Lighting Designer Jason Hand and presented in the COC’s Jackman Studio (227 Front Street East, Toronto) at 8 p.m. on December 14, 15, and at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. on December 16, 2017. With one night sold out, limited tickets ($35) are still available for the remaining three presentations: againstthegraintheatre.ticketleap.com/bound/

A special preview of BOUND will be offered on December 13, 2017 at 12 p.m. as part of the Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. Details about the series may be found at coc.ca.

LISTING INFORMATION
Against the Grain Theatre’s BOUND
December 14, 15 at 8 p.m.
December 16 at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m.
Doors open 30 minutes before curtain
COC’s Jackman Studio (227 Front Street East, Toronto)
Tickets: $35
More info: againstthegraintheatre.com/bound

ABOUT AtG
Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) has invigorated opera audiences since its first sold-out production to an audience of fifty guests in December of 2010. AtG revitalizes the operatic art form by presenting an eclectic array of musical works in unconventional spaces and innovative ways. Since its first season, AtG has consistently performed to standing room-only crowds, to both critical and public acclaim, and continues to introduce hundreds of new opera-goers to the art form. Founded by an adventurous collective of friends and artists, the company endeavours to be serious in intent and execution, yet fun and irreverent in spirit. Current members include Joel IvanyTopher MokrzewskiJonathan MacArthurAmanda Hadi,David EliakisJason HandMiriam Khalil, and Michaela Dickey.

For more information, please visit AtG online atwww.againstthegraintheatre.com, on Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram@AtGTheatre and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AtGTheatre

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Media contact:
Jonathan MacArthur
General Manager
Against the Grain Theatre
416-220-5376
media@againstthegraintheatre.com or gm@againstthegraintheatre.com

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.

Rihab Chaieb as Dora in A Little Too Cozy

New Videos: The Season Finale trailer + Meet The Contestants

By | A Little Too Cozy, Behind the scenes, Video | No Comments

Tune in May 12 to 21 at 8pm for the season finale:

Below, meet the final four contestants who were (pretty keen) to get on A Little Too Cozy. You’re invited to join our studio audience for a live taping of “A Little Too Cozy,” where you’ll witness the final episode of the reality show that asks its contestants: “Can you fall in love with someone you’ve never met?” As the episode kicks off, Cozy‘s final four contestants — Dora, Elmo, Fernando and Felicity — have found their match but, as expected, there’s always a catch.

Fernando

Dora

Elmo

Felicity

Videos by @halfinchdfilms

Against the Grain Theatre’s “A Little Too Cozy” is a modern, English adaptation of Mozart’s “Così fan tutte” that presents the comedy of manners as a wedding reality TV show in CBC Toronto’s Studio 42. May 12—21, 2016. Tickets ($35—$95) at againstthegraintheatre.com