Category Archives: Uncategorized


WholeNote Magazine: “Genres fused in Ayre”

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Christopher Hoile writes in the latest issue of WholeNote Magazine:

“A third production in November also breaks contemporary notions of genre. This is the song cycle Ayre (2004) by Argentinian composer Osvaldo Golijov (born 1960) presented by Against the Grain Theatre from November 10 to 12 at the Ismaili Centre. The title in medieval Spanish means “air” in both the sense of “song” and the air we breathe. The song cycle is a juxtaposition of Arabic, Hebrew, Sardinian and Sephardic folk melodies and texts. The soloist will be Miriam Khalil accompanied by an 11-member ensemble with stage direction by AtG founder and artistic director Joel Ivany and lighting by Jason Hand. Golijov, Ivany and Khalil all met at Banff this past summer and Golijov sat in on rehearsals of the piece. Though not an opera, critics have repeatedly called the work “dramatic.” Ivany says this is the first time anyone has “taken the work a step further” by staging it. He says, “Miriam will have memorized the entire piece and will thus be free to use movement and gesture to illuminate the texts and to tie them together visually.” Ivany is excited that Golijov plans to attend the first two of the performances in Toronto.”

Meet the contestants of A Little Too Cozy

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Who’s on A Little Too Cozy?

Meet the final four contestants and read their interview with Schmopera.


Tenor Aaron Sheppard performs the role of Fernando (Ferrando). #TeamDora

Occupation: Day trader

Aaron Sheppard


Mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb performs the role of Dora (Dorabella). #TeamDora

Occupation: Social media strategist

Rihab Chaieb


Baritone Clarence Frazer performs the role of Elmo (Guglielmo). #TeamFelicity

Occupation: Market analyst

Clarence Frazer


Soprano Shantelle Przybylo performs the role of Felicity (Fiordiligi). #TeamFelicity

Occupation: Ad agency accountant

Shantelle Przybylo



Thoughts About the Future of Opera from AtG’s Founding Members

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When AtG performed with Ottawa Chamberfest this past summer, we immediately fell for the city’s people and culture. Like many others, we were shocked yesterday to hear about Opera Lyra’s immediate cessation of operations, which came less than two weeks after closing its run of The Barber of Seville. Our hearts go out to all of our Lyra friends and colleagues. We were especially excited for our fellow Indie Opera T.O. company Essential Opera, as its members were about to present a double bill with Opera Lyra, scheduled to open tomorrow night.

This can’t be the end of opera in our nation’s capital. It can and MUST go on. In order to re-think, to re-evaluate, to morph, to grow, we have to listen and adapt. We simply can’t spend what we don’t have. To do things differently we need bold vision, experimentation and strong leadership. Yes, opera is expensive, but not impossibly so, and certainly not so expensive that the best course of action is to simply cease, and fade into history. If those who are passionate about music, theatre and the arts are not fighting for the art form, bleeding, scrapping, and sacrificing time, security and energy, then nobody will. The call to raise up mighty artistic administrators is stronger now than ever before. We hear Lyra’s hope for a rebirth (with a new model) and we say YES!

We have to dream big in Canada, and it’s a fitting time to reflect on that as the election looms. We’re seeing the results of cuts to arts education from kindergarten through high school, and it’s unacceptable. Who will help? Who will stand up? We need unwavering support, new ideas and to be unafraid of failure. AtG may not be perfect, but we are an example of what can come from dreams, hard work, friendship and collaboration. Lyra’s news is another wake-up call… are you going to heed it, or hit snooze? #WhosNext

—AtG Founding Members
Joel Ivany
Topher Mokrzewski
Caitlin Coull
Miriam Khalil