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Against the Grain Theatre hires Robin Whiffen as the company’s first Executive Director

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Against the Grain Theatre’s Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Robin Whiffen will become the organization’s first executive director, effective September 16, 2019.

TORONTO — An arts administrator and performer from St. John’s, Newfoundland, Robin Whiffen spent the past three seasons with Opera on the Avalon, most recently in the role of General Manager. Inspired by a lifelong love of music, Ms. Whiffen is passionate about creating meaningful collaborative partnerships within the arts community, allowing audiences to see their full potential reflected through the power of opera.

Ms. Whiffen is a Master of Business Administration candidate at Memorial University of Newfoundland and holds a Bachelor of Music in voice performance from The University of Toronto. In 2017, she represented Opera.ca at the OPERA America Leadership Intensive in New York City and has been invited to speak across Canada in her capacity as an arts administrator and advocate of the operatic art form.

Ms. Whiffen joins Against the Grain as Executive Director in partnership with Founder & Artistic Director Joel Ivany, AtG staff and the Board of Directors: contributing to the continued growth and development of Against the Grain’s artistic portfolio.

According to Against the Grain Theatre Board Chair Heather Legg, “We are thrilled to have Robin join AtG as its first Executive Director. She was the clear choice after an intense national search process that included many qualified candidates. Robin impressed the search committee with her strong leadership, thoughtfulness and clear ideas for realizing AtG’s strategic vision of making art and opera a thriving part of our community. We are excited to welcome her to AtG’s excellent team.”

“I am excited to join Against the Grain as Executive Director,” Robin shared. “I look forward to working in collaboration with Joel, the AtG Collective and the Board of Directors to continue to push the boundaries of the operatic art form, allowing audiences to see themselves reflected on stage through the power of the human voice.”

After three years as General Manager, Jonathan MacArthur transitions into a new role in the organizational collective as the Digital Marketing Manager: committing to the growing online presence of Against the Grain Theatre. In other company related moves, Miriam Khalil, previously serving as an Artistic Advisor will now assume the role of Associate Artistic Director. She will continue to be heavily involved in casting and her quiet influence over the artistic direction of the company will now take on a more public position. Lastly, Shirley Neuman joins the collective as Government Relations. Having previously served on the Board of Directors for Against the Grain Theatre, Shirley’s years of expert grant writing has been pivotal to Against the Grain Theatre’s growth and programmatic success.

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Against the Grain 19/20 Season Press Release

By | Ayre, Bound, Joel Ivany, Kyrie Kristmanson, Media Release, Opera Pub, Uncategorized | No Comments

Against the Grain celebrates 10 seasons of edgy, visionary opera.

Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) presents its most ambitious season to date.  The season begins with a national tour of La Bohème, a revival of the award-winning production of Figaro’s Wedding, a return of the JUNO-nominated performance of Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre for the opening night at the 21C Music Festival in Koerner Hall and the world premiere of BOUND by Canadian composer Kevin Lau and librettist Joel Ivany.

TORONTO – Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) celebrates its 10th anniversary season on the heels of receiving two Dora Mavor Moore awards for their production of Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s only opera Kopernikus. This pivotal tenth season will see a cross-Canada tour of our beloved production of La Bohème, the revival of Figaro’s Wedding, a debut at Koerner Hall’s 21C Music Festival with Osvaldo Golijov’s Ayre and the world premiere of the highly anticipated finale of BOUND.  AtG’s “standing room only” #OperaPubseries continues for another season at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club and presents a free concert at the Canadian Opera Company’s Free Concert Series in the Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre, featuring soprano Breanna Sinclairé.

La Bohèmethe innovative AtG production that started it all and uprooted opera from the opera house, returns with a multi-province tour in partnership with Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.  In 2011, AtG made its debut in the Toronto opera scene with an innovative interpretation of Puccini’s classic love story. The Italian libretto was translated into English and updated the 19th-century Parisian Latin-quarter setting to Toronto’s historic Tranzac Club. Our new production keeps the bar setting, but introduces it with a new Canadian cast to towns in central Canada. Meet Les Bobos: tenor Marcel D’entremont (Rodolfo), soprano Jonelle Sills (Mimì), baritone Clarence Frazer (Marcello), baritone Andrew Adridge (Schaunard), bass-baritone Giles Tomkins (Colline) and baritone Greg Finney (Benoît and Alcindoro).  Destinations include Banff, Calgary, and Medicine Hat, Alberta; Regina, Saskatchewan; Brandon and Winnipeg, Manitoba; Kenora, Thunder Bay, Sudbury and Toronto, Ontario.  Performances take place between September 27 – October 25, 2019.  See website for details.

Called “A treat from beginning to end” by the Toronto Star, Figaro’s Weddingthe winner of the Dora Award for Outstanding New Opera in 2014 triumphantly returns in a brand new production. This adaptation of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro sees the Lorenzo Da Ponte libretto modernized, translated into English by AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and staged as a Toronto winter wedding with the audience cast as wedding guests. The impressive ensemble includes soprano Alexandra Smither as Susanna, baritone Bruno Roy as Figaro, soprano Miriam Khalil as Rosina (Countess) and baritone Phillip Addisas Alberto (Count). The creative team reunites several past AtG contributors, with stage direction by Ivany, music direction by Rachael Kerr, lighting design by AtG Resident Lighting Designer Jason Hand and costume and set design by Anna Treusch.  The show comes complete with ushers, a string quartet, and all the usual vows, tears, and hilarity.  All performances take place at the historic Enoch Turner Schoolhouse (106 Trinity St, Toronto) on December 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19  & 20, 2019.

Last season AtG launched AtG Records, a modern classical music record label and earned a JUNO nomination for their first release Ayre: Live (a live recording from November 2016 of their acclaimed stage production). Composer Osvaldo Golijov writes of soprano Miriam Khalil, “I cannot even begin to express the emotion I feel when she sings Ayre; it is as if she was born to sing it, or, even better, born for each other, she and Ayre.” Miriam Khalil has since performed Ayrewhich has become her signature piecein three countries and six different cities to great acclaim, and will open the 21C Musical Festival at Koerner Hall with this piece. The evening will also include  Golijov’s other works such as Mariel, K’vakarat, and Tenebrae. Musicians include Jamey Haddad, Barry Shiffman, Gabriel Radford, Michael Ward-Bergman, Juan Gabriel Olivares, and cantor Alex Stein. This one night only performance is presented by Koerner Hall at the 21C Music Festival (273 Bloor Street West) January 11, 2020 at 8pm.

BOUND was developed in December 2017 as a reaction to those displaced, dehumanized and mistreated by recent geopolitical conflict. AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany has written original text and drawn from news articles and international current events as source inspiration in the creation of the story BOUND. AtG commissioned composer Kevin Lau to keep the backbone of Handel’s music while infusing his own contemporary themes, music and ideas. This season will see the final premiere of the three year concept-to-realization project led by stage director Mitchell Cushman and light designer Jason Hand. The cast includes actor Martha Burns, soprano Miriam Khalil, tenor Ernesto Ramirez and the operatic debut of transgender opera singer Breanna Sinclairé. This world premiere will be presented at Harbourfront Centre Theatre (231 Queens Quay West) between April 17-25, 2020.

On March 31, 2020, at 12:00pm, AtG will once again be featured as part of the Free Concert Series in The Richard Bradshaw Amphitheatre at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. A recital will be given by one of our artists from BOUND, Breanna Sinclairé, the only lyric soprano opera singer in the world who is transgender.

Back by popular demand, AtG’s standing room only #OperaPub series returns October 3 at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club (54 The Esplanade). Hosted by AtG Collective member David Eliakis, these free events will continue to feature opera arias and ensembles alongside witty banter and craft beers. Festivities begin at 9pm on the first Thursday of every month, and continue until May 7, 2020.

We also announce the commission of Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, written by celebrated composer Michelle DiBucci and award-winning Canadian librettist Royce Vavrek. This opera will be a journey into a young woman’s world torn apart by abuse, neglect, addiction and apathy. It is an unflinching and compassionate look at the opioid crisis and a brutal testament on a plague that is emblematic of this decade.  Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup will be sung in English and and is set to premiere in 2021.

 

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Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup

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Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup is a new opera written by celebrated composer Michelle DiBucci and award-winning Canadian librettist Royce Vavrek, this opera will be a journey into a young woman’s world torn apart by abuse, neglect, addiction and apathy. It is an unflinching and compassionate look at the opioid crisis and a brutal testament on a plague that is emblematic of this decade.  Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup will be sung in English and and is expected to premiere in 2021.

Overview

America’s opioid epidemic is the deadliest drug crisis in US history and one of our greatest national tragedies. In 2016 alone, more Americans died from drug overdoses than from the Vietnam war, gun violence, car crashes, and HIV/AIDS combined (vox.com). Composer Michelle DiBucci has conceived a powerful new work that grapples with this complex subject on the operatic stage.

Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup is about a contemporary woman named Meri, a wife and young mother who becomes addicted to painkillers after a routine surgery.  Abandoned by a system unable to provide help, her life quickly spins out of control as she moves desperately from prescription drugs to street Heroin to feed her addiction.

Should Meri be punished, pitied or rescued? Her feelings of isolation and social alienation collide head-on with the cold calculus of a dysfunctional social system.

Structurally, the opera will loosely follow characters and scenes from the play, Woyzeck. Each scene will be a self-contained unit building on the last to form a coherent whole, as in a series of paintings by William Hogarth. The Norman Rockwellesque tableaux which open each scene will reflect a snapshot of everyday North American life.

Switching the attention away from Büchner’s protagonist, Franz Woyzeck, this opera will bring focus on Meri, the domestic partner of Frank, an Army Reserve Soldier, and father of her child.

Composer’s Statement

Stylistically, the music will encompass three sound-worlds which will overlap.

Chromatic, non-tonal sonorities represent the underlying story.

American folk music styles support the setting of Meri’s poems

Extended tertian and polytonal sonorities represent Meri’s states of “high.”

Throughout the opera, Meri will be followed by the Chorus. This vocal quartet will use contemporary vocal techniques in contrast to the operatic performance style of the other characters.

The Chorus haunts and taunts Meri and the only way to silence their ridicule and contempt is by being high on drugs.

Once Meri’s prescription is cut off, she moves to the streets in search of drugs and meets the male drug dealer, Mrs. Winslow, who will introduce her to heroin.  The name, Mrs. Winslow, is a reference to “Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup”, an opiate-laced drink that was given to babies with colic and their nervous mothers from 1849 – 1920. Tragically, many who took Mrs. Winslow’s Soothing Syrup became addicts.

DiBucci imagines the opera as an expressionistic tragedy. It presents a passionate debate on the idea of free will vs. determinism.  Moreover, it is a damming commentary on a society that seems headed towards irreversible decline. In Woyzeck, Büchner makes clear that madness is never isolated, but instead connected to the society that feeds it. In the opera, addiction will replicate this madness as a hungry ghost. 

As an artist and composer, DiBucci has many years of experience creating social-impact work that helps facilitate dialogue on complex topics. She felt compelled to shine a light on the urgent subject of opiod addiction and to raise awareness of the national catastrophe unfolding in slow motion in communities around the country. Opera, as the most complex of the dramatic forms, is the best medium to address this difficult subject. Opera involves emotion of an epic scale, which is how the composer views the devastating life of her antiheroine, Meri. With music, narrative and visual imagery, this opera will engage audiences to see, hear and feel her world in the grips of addiction.

A new chapter for AtG and Topher Mokrzewski

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When one door closes, another one opens. As AtG closes the door on a successful production of Kopernikus, we announce another door opening for our Music Director, Topher Mokrzewski.

After a stunning 10 years as a Founding Member and Music Director of AtG, Toph will be moving on to an exciting new opportunity as Associate Artist Manager at Dean Artists Management!

Toph has brought so much honest love, dedicated musicality, and excellent sportsmanship to AtG over the past decade (!) and we wish him every success with our pals at Dean.

Kopernikus could not have been a greater show to go out on.

AtG is so proud of him and lucky to have had him on our team for as long as we did.

Good luck Toph and look forward to working with you in new ways.

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

Q&A with Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill

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home-4Karen Cargill is a Scottish operatic mezzo-soprano who has performed with the Metropolitan Opera and at the Edinburgh International Festival among other organizations.

We’re fortunate to have Karen on our faculty for Summer Modern Intensive 2019!

Karen sings some of the larger rep in the world of opera (Wagner, Wagner, Wagner).  We had some baby-Wagner singers last summer at our Intensive and so we wanted to have some teachers with us who could inspire them.  Karen is one of those teachers (Heidi is the other).  We asked Karen about some questions about singing big rep and small rep and why she likes working with singers.

Q:  When you were well on the opera train, how did you know when you were ready to move from safer rep to some of the heavier stuff.  How did you get into Wagner and know that it was both safe and what fit.

A:  I’ve had an interesting journey with singing once I graduated from the National Opera Studio in London. I started singing the usual beginner roles Third lady in Magic Flute, Suzuki in Butterfly, Sesto, when the music director at Scottish Opera offered me the chance to sing Rosina in Barbiere di Siviglia. I was convinced I couldn’t do it and it ended up being the most amazing time of exploration. At the same time I was offered the cover of Waltraute in Götterdämmerung for the BBC proms which I then ended up performing. That meant doing both roles at the same time which was a gift, the Rossini became very lyrical and the Wagner stayed fresh and not over-sung. That’s the thing about Wagner: if you study the score carefully, the vocal parts are so well written that the accompaniment should never push the voice too much. We need to be brave enough as singers to never push.

I spent a long time with Waltraute and the Wesendonck lieder making sure that I got to grips with Wagner’s musical language before moving on to other roles and I took my time with each role I’ve tackled since; the Norns, Brangäne, parts of Kundry, Fricka for the first time only recently, Erda for the first time this season. Make sure you have trusted ears with you when you start and ALWAYS begin with the text!!

Q:  What is it about a singer working with a singer that works so well?

A:  There’s nothing better than working with someone who knows the inner workings of your job, whatever field you might be in, whether you are a plumber or a teacher or a musician. To be able to share thoughts and ideas with someone who fully understands the trials and tribulations that we go through as a performer is an invaluable lesson. One of the things I love about working with other singers is the sharing of ideas, the fresh perspective that we can all gain whether you’ve been working for 5 months or 15 years. Being able to share some of the knowledge I’ve gained about the business is something I take very seriously.

Q:  What would you say to your younger self now?

A:  I had an epiphany about 12 years ago watching a well known singer give a recital. They didn’t ‘try’ to be anyone, anything, they were just present. Along with that came a stage presence that many singing teachers would criticize, blowing their nose, having the words in the piano, not always facing the audience, the thing was that it was completely real. I changed my perspective right there and promised to no longer ‘try’ to give a performance but just be me. In short my advice would be to be authentic, shut out the noise of chasing perfection, it doesn’t exist and that’s actually the place where great art lies. Whoa…. that is PROFOUND!!!

Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill studied at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and was the winner of the 2002 Kathleen Ferrier Award.  On the opera stage she will appear as Waltraute in Götterdammerung at the Royal Opera Covent Garden and has three return invitations to the Metropolitan Opera, with roles including Erda and Mère Marie.

You can still apply for AtG and U of T Opera’s Summer Modern Intensive.

Click HERE to apply. The application is free. There is no audition for this program.

Program Dates: Thursday, August 8, 2019 — Friday, August 22, 2019
Deadline to Apply: Friday, January 25, 2019

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(La) voix humaine

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Click here to purchase tickets.

Against the Grain is hanging up on fachs with (La) voix humaine – a gender-bent re-imagining of Francis Poulenc’s one-woman show La voix humaine.

AtG asks: How does this system limit our ability to breathe new life into established pieces?

As the first project for our AtG Incubator initiative, (La) voix humaine explores the potential of the human voice by co-opting a well-established soprano role to challenge depictions of masculinity in the operatic canon. The project was proposed by Tenor Jacques Arsenault who has been paired with AtG Musical Director, Topher Mokrzewski and Stage Director, Aria Umezawa. Arsenault will re-frame the role of Elle as Lui, and portray the grief, angst, and neurosis of a man confronting his ex-lover over the phone.

Join AtG at the Gallery 345 on February 16, 8:00 p.m. to get a glimpse into the creative process of this new exploration, which seeks to demonstrate that just like the human voice, opera’s ability to tell compelling and relevant stories is limitless.

Event Information:

Saturday, February 16th, 2019

Doors: 7:30 p.m.
Show: 8:00 p.m.
Location: 345 Sorauren Avenue, Toronto, ON M6R 2G5
Tickets: $35

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Summer Modern Intensive

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A summer training program for opera singers

Building upon last summer’s successful intensive training program, Against the Grain Theatre joins University of Toronto Opera to immerse established and emerging artists in a two-week program focusing on the exciting canon of modern-contemporary works. This program lets you bring your best, your worst, your tired, your polished, (and the ones you won’t do for many many years, but want to look at it) into a space to work on the development of your craft. This intensive is meant for you to prioritize your individual artistic needs, in the middle of August when audition season is just around the corner. And by looking at the hidden gems of opera’s 20th century treasures and looking at contemporary operas 21st century current works, we will provide valuable insight to artists as they aim to develop, specialize and perfect their modern opera roles. Against the Grain Theatre’s outside the box approach to traditional opera matched with UofT Opera’s educational excellence will be a hub for singers to learn and perform.  “As a graduate of this storied institution, my foundation for opera was built at U of T Opera.  Our General Manager, Jonathan MacArthur is also a graduate of this program and together we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Sandra and Michael,” says Against the Grain Artistic Director Joel Ivany.

Over the course of two-weeks, singers will take part in masterclasses, movement classes, staging, daily one-on-one coaching sessions, perform in Opera Pub and end the program performing modern opera scenes with both the performers and audience members right on the MacMillan Theatre Stage.

Sessions will take place at the Edward Johnson Building (80 Queens Park, Toronto, Ontario). Further opportunities include mentorship, career guidance, round-table discussions with industry professionals, a professional headshot, a recorded aria video, and much more!

Meet some of our faculty:

Voice Instructors:
Miriam Khalil
Heidi Melton
Karen Cargill

Music Faculty:
Sandra Horst
Topher Mokrzewski
Andrea Grant
David Eliakis

Stage Direction/Acting Faculty:
Joel Ivany
Michael Albano

Click HERE to apply. The application is free. There is no audition to this program.

Program Dates: Thursday, August 8, 2019 — Thursday, August 22, 2019
Deadline to Apply: January 25, 2019
Participants will be notified by end mid-February of their acceptance
Cost: $1,750 CAD
Payments due: 50% on April 1st, and the remainder of tuition June 1st.

Questions? Email: info@againstthegraintheatre.com

Ayre Live CD

Stunning new interpretation of Golijov’s Ayre launches Against The Grain Records

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“A perfect and tremendously satisfying example of cultural transcendence”  –The Globe and Mail

Golijov’s Haunting Song Cycle Ayre Receives Powerful New Interpretation by Soprano Miriam Khalil

Live Recording to Launch Against The Grain Records Label on December 7

TORONTO, Canada – November 7, 2018 – Against The Grain Theatre, Toronto’s visionary chamber opera company, is known for electric performances that act as “a bracing wake-up call to the spirit” (The Globe and Mail). That daring candor is now being channeled via its new in-house recording label, which launches with a live recording of Osvaldo Golijov’s “ecstatically beautiful…radical and disorienting” song cycle Ayre this December (The New Yorker).

Informed by the composer’s personal history as a Romanian Jew born in Argentina, Ayre blends traditional and electronic instruments with elements of Byzantine chant, Sephardic lullabies, Sardinian protest songs, and Arabic, Hebrew, and Christian texts. Praised by Gramophone as “an intoxicating, endlessly haunting mixture of styles and musical cultures,” the technically exacting song cycle has become a signature piece for AtG Founding Member Miriam Khalil.

Khalil, a Lebanese Christian raised in Damascus, Syria, until her family immigrated to Canada, was immediately drawn to the eclectic textures and melodies of Ayre.

“When I first heard Ayre, I was mesmerized. I recognized two of the pieces as songs I had sung since childhood – songs my mother and father taught me,” said Khalil. “With all the anti-Arab propaganda on the news, it was very moving to hear holy music from Arabic culture framed so beautifully, enveloped with real respect by Hebrew and Christian traditions.”

To those distressed by endless media reports highlighting the rise of nationalistic movements across the globe, Ayre’s reverence for seemingly conflicting cultures can act as an injection of hope. It offers us a glimpse of shared humanity – of the ties we can more easily perceive through music, poetry, and common experience. As The Globe and Mail has recognized, Ayre is “an evening of power and resonance, the kind of which deep memories are made.”

The composer, a 2003 MacArthur Fellow, believes that Ayre’s resonance is heightened by Khalil’s performance – including her ability to deliver the texts in their original Arabic, rather than in English translation.

“No one owns this piece in the way that Miriam Khalil does,” said Golijov. “It is as if she was born to sing it.”

Critics from Ottawa to Buenos Aires have praised Khalil’s interpretation of Ayre as a powerful and visceral reminder that humanity has the capacity to transcend the cultural barriers that seem to accost us daily. Golijov’s conscious weaving of linguistic and musical threads represents a more accepting form of cultural pluralism, where historically competing traditions can coexist, complementing each other more beautifully than an assimilated society might anticipate.

According to Against the Grain Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany, the preservation of such transformative works was a major motivator in the establishment of the theatre’s in-house label. “At AtG, we have made it our mandate to create fresh and daring experiences for our audiences – and with this new facet of our work, we’re now able to capture and share moments of our acclaimed limited production runs.”

“Against the Grain is thrilled to be able to share the immediacy and emotion of this live performance, recorded at the breathtaking Ismaili Center in Toronto, with a broader audience,” he said. “Ayre is an extraordinary and unforgettable adventure.”

In this video, Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil and director Joel Ivany explore the cultural threads of Osvaldo Golijov’s beguiling song cycle Ayre.

About Miriam Khalil

One of Canada’s acclaimed singers, Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil is lauded as a “skilled, versatile artist” whose “signature warm lyrical voice” makes “her fine soprano express every emotion with exactness and feeling.” An alumna of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, she won first place in the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions (Great Lakes Region) and subsequently appeared in the 2007 documentary The Audition. Her performance credits include Glyndebourne Festival Opera, Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, Opera Tampa, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Opera Hamilton, Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), Edmonton Opera, Pacific Opera Victoria, Opera Lyra Ottawa, and prominent orchestras across Canada, in roles such as Mimì (La bohème), Mélisande (Pelléas et Mélisande), Governess (The Turn of the Screw), Susanna (Le nozze di Figaro), Donna Elvira (Don Giovanni), Cleopatra (Giulio Cesare), Almirena (Rinaldo), and the title role in Alcina. Ms. Khalil’s 2018/19 season includes appearances as Mimì in La bohème with the Canadian Opera Company, Marzelline in Fidelio at Pacific Opera Victoria, Eurydice in Orphée at the Banff Centre for the Arts, and Noor Haddad in AtG’s Handel mash-up BOUND.

About Osvaldo Golijov

Osvaldo Golijov is a composer who blends classical forms with the rhythms and melodies of other genres to create a concert experience that resonates deeply with contemporary audiences. Drawing on diverse musical and literary traditions (from tango and klezmer to the poems of Emily Dickinson and Pablo Neruda), Golijov’s compositions exhibit a fresh, powerful style. Among Osvaldo Golijov’s best known works are the St Mark Passion; the opera Ainadamar; a cello concerto, Azul, and the song cycle Ayre. He has also written soundtracks for films by Francis Ford Coppola (Tetro, Youth Without Youth), and arranged music from many places in the world, primarily for the Kronos Quartet. He is currently working on Falling Out of Time, a song cycle for the Silk Road Ensemble, based on a book by David Grossman. He was born in Argentina in 1960, lived in Jerusalem in his youth, and moved to Massachusetts in 1991, where he is the Loyola Professor of Music at the College of the Holy Cross.

Images by Darryl Block

Press Contact: Beth Stewart

Verismo Communications

Tel: 618.444.3183 | Email: beth@verismocommunications.com

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AtG Goes North

By | Joel Ivany, Opera Pub, Press, Uncategorized, Upcoming | No Comments

In a dynamic new partnership with the Yukon Arts Centre, AtG reaches further north than ever before in “Life, Love and Drinking Alone: the artist’s guide to smashing your phone”

This November, Against the Grain Theatre’s Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany, Music Director Topher Mokrzewski and baritone Andrew Love (who we last loved as Marcello in AtG’s La bohème) travel to Whitehorse and Dawson City, Yukon. “The Yukon Arts Centre is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Against The Grain Theatre to bring its fiery, irreverent approach to opera to Canada’s North.” says Yukon Arts Centre’s CEO Casey Prescott.

This exciting new program will feature a staged Kurt Weill song recital titled “Life, Love and Drinking Alone: the artist’s guide to smashing your phone”.

Join Sam as he both celebrates and grieves at the end of a relationship. From bar to bar, drink to drink, lounge to floor to gutter, he works through what went wrong, facebook stalks, falls down the infamous instagram rabbit hole, reminisces, and dismisses… all while maintaining his greatest relationship of all… with his true love… his smartphone.
This cabaret features music from Opera to Musical Theatre, Pop to Country, (to maybe even rap), with a special emphasis given to the brilliant music of Kurt Weill. Lead from the piano by Topher Mokrzewski (bartender), this cabaret has been conceived, staged and will be performed by baritone Andrew Love (Sam).

Produced by Against the Grain Theatre and the Yukon Arts Centre.

The tour will also include community workshops, talks and roundtables.

Events Listing
7:00 PM Thursday, November 29
At the Old Fire Hall, Whitehorse, Yukon
8:00 PM Friday, November 30
At KIAC Ballroom, Dawson City, Yukon

About the Yukon Arts Centre
The Yukon Arts Centre (YAC) is a not for profit charitable organization dedicated to the development of the arts as an important cultural, social and economic force in the Yukon. We intend to be a model for the development of the arts in the North and a stimulus for a vibrant and creative territory. YAC is the territory’s premier venue for performing and visual arts.

About the Klondike Institute of Art and Culture
The Klondike Institute of Art and Culture is of one of the many volunteer driven not-for-profit initiatives that are vital to the social, cultural and economic health of Dawson City. The Klondike Visitors Association plans activities and events that attract thousands of visitors to Dawson City each year. The Dawson City Music Festival is legendary for its ability to present Canada’s finest musical talent to the community both at the July festival, and at concerts during the year. Other organizations such as the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre, Dawson Museum Society, and CFYT Radio add to Dawson’s rich cultural milieu, which is somewhat unexpected in a small northern town that’s only a few hours drive from the Arctic Circle.

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New Sponsor for 2018/19 Season!

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We’re very excited to announce that Sue-Ann Staff Estate Winery is our newest sponsor for our 2018/19 season.

Be sure to stop by and celebrate with us.  We will be toasting at our Opera in the Garden event following our inaugural AtG Intensive, August 19, 2018 at 3pm EST.
After opening in 2009, it has been a whirlwind of ultimate experiences, from Weddings to Corporate Dinners to Food Truck Events and Niagara Icewine Programs. Concerts and Fashion Shows, they can now add Opera to their list.

 

Click on the following link for an introduction to this great Estate Winery: www.youtube.com/watch?v=zlN-NrDPH54

 

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