Category Archives: Upcoming

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New Video! Opera Pub: Opus Pocus

By | Opera Pub, Upcoming, Video | No Comments

#OperaPub
Thursday, October 5, 2017
Amsterdam Bicycle Club
54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON, M5E 1A6

The greatest event that the The Amsterdam Bicycle Club has ever seen, AtG’s Opera Pub returns for a sinister spooktacular “just in time” for Halloween* (*a full four weeks ahead of Halloween). Host David Eliakis is joined by our favourite operatic Disaster Artists (to be revealed) for a night of:

+ The Best (Haunting and Bewitching) Operatic Music of All Time
+ A special set of I PAGLIACCI devoted to the scariest thing we know: clowns
+ Cheap Pints! Raffle Prizes! Spaghetti!
+ More crazy things we can’t predict

About Opera Pubs:
Running the first Thursday of every month, AtG Opera Pub nights are improvised, wild nights that offer up your favourite beer with a side of operatic arias and ensembles, performed by both established and emerging opera talent performed on our very own Craigslist piano. Free admission, discounted pitchers of beer.

AtG Artist Director Joel Ivany and Music Director Topher Mokrzewski chatted with Jenna Douglas at Schmopera about the idea behind Opera Pub.

Duration: Depending on how many performers sign up, Opera Pubs usually have four 15-minute sets. We take a break between each set to refresh our drinks and chat with the audience.

Video produced by Andy Martin-Smith; Cinematography: Issa Shah; Sound: Adam Laycock

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Against the Grain Theatre #GoForBaroque in 2017/2018 season

By | Bound, Canadian Opera Company, Joel Ivany, Kyrie Kristmanson, Media Release, Opera Pub, Orphee, Upcoming | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 26 September, 2017

A Handel mash-up and an international co-production comprise AtG’s most expansive season to date

TORONTO – Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) returns in its eighth season with BOUND, a pastiche workshop of new interpretations of Handel’s music, and a groundbreaking new production of Berlioz’s arrangement of Gluck’s Orphée. AtG’s acclaimed #OperaPub nights return as a monthly fixture at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club, and the company collaborates with Canadian baroque-pop artist Kyrie Kristmanson at the Alliance Française in Toronto. In addition, AtG enters its second season as company-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company (COC).

This December, Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Music Director Topher Mokrzewski collaborate with composer Kevin Lau, the recent Victor Martyn Lynch-Staunton Award winner, to bring Handel’s music into the present through a workshop titled BOUND. In the wake of the world’s refugee crisis, this workshop will explore the current state of those displaced, dehumanized and mistreated, with texts and stories drawn from real-life news articles and events. BOUND is the first workshop of a three-year concept-to-realization production. “Handel is 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.” Featuring a cast of young Canadian talent, BOUND will feature soprano Danika Lorèn, tenor Asitha Tennekoon, counter-tenor David Trudgen, baritone Justin Welsh, bass Michael Uloth, mezzo-soprano Victoria Marshall and AtG Founding Member and soprano Miriam Khalil. This workshop will be lit by AtG Resident Lighting Designer Jason Hand and presented in the COC’s Jackman Studio (227 Front Street East, Toronto) on December 14, 15, and 16, 2017. Tickets go on sale Thursday, October 5 at 12 p.m. at againstthegraintheatre.com.

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 www.coc.ca.

In Spring 2018, AtG partners with Opera Columbus to introduce a new, fully realized version of Berlioz/Gluck’s Orphée⁺. A brainchild of AtG Founder and Artistic Director Joel Ivany, Orphée⁺ casts dancers from New York City’s Company XIV, an opulent and intimate baroque burlesque dance company, with choreography by Austin McCormick, Director and Choreographer of Company XIV, and multi-faceted aerialist, pole dancer and soprano Marcy Richardson in the role of Amour. Sung in French, Orphée⁺ blends Berlioz/Glück’s music with new electro-acoustic soundscapes designed by John Gzowski; incorporates a virtual chorus — made up of hundreds of singers — in a digital projection created by set and projection designer Katy Tucker; costume design by Company XIV‘s Zane Pihlstrom; and features lighting by JAX Messenger. Joel Ivany serves as Stage Director and Topher Mokrzewski conducts an 11-piece orchestra, which blends classical and electronic string instruments. Orphée⁺ opens first in Columbus before coming to Toronto’s Fleck Dance Dance Theatre in April 2018. Full cast details and ticket information will be announced later this season.

Back by popular demand, AtG’s standing-room-only #OperaPub nights return October 5 at the Amsterdam Bicycle Club (54 The Esplanade, Toronto). Hosted by new AtG Collective member David Eliakis, these free events will continue to feature opera arias and ensembles alongside witty banter, craft beers and an ever-faithful Craigslist piano. Beginning at 9 p.m., the festivities will continue the first Thursday of every month until May 2018.

Also new this season, AtG collaborates with Canadian baroque-pop artist Kyrie Kristmanson for the Canadian release of her album Modern Ruin, a repertoire for voice and string quartet inspired by the lost songs of the women troubadours of medieval France. Led by stage director Amanda Smith, an AtG ensemble including percussionist Nathan Pettipas, dancer Mary-Dora Bloch, and baritone Adam Harris perform original arrangements for marimba and voice, inspired by French song. This event takes place on October 13 at 8 p.m. at the Théâtre de l’Alliance Française (24 Spadina Road).

In its second year as company-in-residence at the Canadian Opera Company (COC), AtG continues its work in the COC’s pilot program designed for independent companies looking to gain administrative expertise within their organization. “The training and mentorship opportunities are incredible,” praises AtG General Manager Jonathan MacArthur. “As an emerging administrator, receiving mentorship from the COC’s many different departments is an invaluable, one-of-a-kind experience that fosters individual leadership skills and applicable management practices required to grow a sustainable arts organization.”

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 Ivany, Topher Mokrzewski, Jonathan MacArthur, Amanda Hadi, David Eliakis, Jason Hand, Miriam Khalil, and Michaela Dickey.

For more information, please visit AtG online at www.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

 

Kyrie Kristmanson by ULA BLOCKSAGE

Oct 13: AtG Concert with Kyrie Kristmanson & the Warhol Dervish Quartet

By | Kyrie Kristmanson, Upcoming | No Comments

New this season, we’re proud to collaborate with Canadian baroque-pop artist Kyrie Kristmanson for the Canadian release of her album Modern Ruin, a repertoire for voice and string quartet inspired by the lost songs of the women troubadours of medieval France. Hailing from Ottawa, ON, Kyrie is currently a Paris-based singer-songwriter whose Medieval-pop blend “evokes the ghost of Aliénor d’Aquitaine, protector of the trobaïritz (female troubadours).”

Led by stage director Amanda Smith, an AtG ensemble including percussionist Nathan Pettipas, dancer Mary-Dora Bloch-Hansen, and baritone Adam Harris, will perform original arrangements for marimba and voice inspired by French song. This opener will be followed by Kyrie’s mainstage album performance with the the Warhol Dervish Quartet. The evening unfolds at Théâtre de l’Alliance Française.

Friday, October 13  8pm
Théâtre de l’Alliance Française (Spadina Theatre)
24 Spadina Road, M5R 2S7 Toronto, ON

General admission $15 (Seniors, Alliance Française students, members & teachers: $10 | Under 18? Free admission)

Photo: Kyrie Kristmanson by Ula Blocksage

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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

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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

XVIth century - Palma Giovane, The rape of Lucretia, circa 1570, oil on canvas

Up next: The Rape of Lucretia

By | Banff, Media Release, The Rape of Lucretia, Upcoming | No Comments

Coming next season

Benjamin Britten’s

THE RAPE OF LUCRETIA

 

AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Music Director Topher Mokrzewski present Britten’s haunting chamber opera about the ill-fated Lucretia, whose was rape by Tarquinius Sextus — son of the Etruscan King of Rome — and consequent suicide spurred the revolution that toppled the monarchy and brought about the Roman Republic.

The Rape of Lucretia will be developed and debuted at The Banff Centre this summer, followed by a semi-staged sneak peek at Toronto Summer Music Festival.

 

Upcoming performances:

July 14–17, 2016     The Banff Centre

Stage direction by Paul Curran

Get tickets

 

Friday, July 22, 2016     Toronto Summer Music Festival

Stage direction by Anna Theodosakis

Toronto Summer Music offer: Use the promocode AGAINSTTG for a special 20% discount!*

Get tickets

*Offer not applicable to previously purchased tickets or in combination with any other offer.  Offer only applicable to regular priced tickets.  Offer expires June 15. 

 

Full AtG presentation in Toronto, location TBA

Stay tuned for the on-sale date and more announcements!

1 month til Mozart meets the CBC

By | A Little Too Cozy, Upcoming | No Comments

A Little Too Cozy is coming up fast (May 12) and Toronto Life has summed up why this opera-in-a-CBC-soundstage is destined to be one to watch:

“Against the Grain Theatre, the iconoclast opera troupe known for staging Mozart in dive bars, adapts Wolfie’s sex romp Cosi fan tutte into a raunchy Bachelor-style game show… the crowd doubles as a live studio audience with cues to laugh, clap and cry.”

So get Cozy with us (and get your tickets soon).

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AtG's Messiah Home Slide

AtG’s Messiah – Media Release

By | Media Release, Upcoming | No Comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 2, 2015 Against the Grain Theatre remounts its popular, staged Messiah this December

TORONTO — After debuting its groundbreaking take on Handel’s Messiah in 2013 to surprised audiences and resounding critical acclaim, Against the Grain Theatre is heeding popular demand and bringing back the production this holiday season. In partnership with the The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, the bold young company remounts AtG’s Messiah for four performances at Harbourfront Centre Theatre from Dec. 16 to 19, 2015. Tickets are now on sale at masseyhall.com.

AtG’s Messiah premiered during high season for the perennial favourite in Toronto two years ago. Amid the many versions available throughout the city, it sold out its entire run and became the talk of the holiday dinner table. According to the Globe and Mail at the time, “the most exciting Messiah over the past week or so may well have been that of the small, experimental musical/theatre company Against the Grain Theatre.”

The score remains intact, but forget about the usual gowns and leather-bound choral folders. AtG artistic director Joel Ivany reunites with choreographer Jennifer Nichols to give the piece new form and movement, building on the expressive and captivating choreography that wowed audiences at its premiere. Once again AtG music director Topher Mokrzewski is at the musical helm, conducting an 18-piece orchestra and 16-member chorus. AtG resident lighting designer Jason Hand creates a dramatic and evocative setting.

An all-star lineup of fearless soloists includes soprano Miriam Khalil, mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig, tenor Owen McCausland and bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus.

“We pushed some boundaries when we debuted this production two years ago, and I’m so glad we did,” says Ivany. “The response from our audiences and the musical community has been amazing. It proves that you can create such a moving experience simply by looking at something familiar in a different, imaginative way. Our whole company is excited and proud to partner with The Corporation of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall to bring one of our favourite productions back to the stage.”

“Against the Grain Theatre has proven itself as Toronto’s go-to company for fresh and innovative thinking,” says Chris Lorway, director of programming for Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. “Its truly unique production of the Messiah adds a new dimension to the excellent line-up available to concert-goers this December–from the TSO’s breathtaking presentation to Tafelmusic’s beloved version–demonstrating the very healthy musical ecosystem alive in Toronto.”

Performances take place at Harbourfront Centre Theatre on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available at masseyhall.com.

LISTING INFORMATION
AtG’s Messiah
Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m.; Dec. 19 at 2pm
Harbourfront Centre Theatre, 235 Queen’s Quay W.
Tickets: $25 and up, masseyhall.com
More info: www.againstthegraintheatre.com

ABOUT AtG
In December of 2010, Toronto’s opera scene received a jolt of energy with the formation of Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), a visionary young start-up founded by a small group of friends who worked in the “biz.” Inspired by a goal of reinvigorating the art form by presenting classical repertoire in unconventional spaces and innovative ways, AtG staged its first performance to a sold-out audience of 50 people, and with that the company was off and running. Since that first season, AtG has packed every single one of its productions with standing room-only crowds, winning a consistent level of critical acclaim that has even surprised its own members. Maclean’s has referred to AtG as “the most successful of the indies,” and the Calgary Herald called it “one of the most important opera companies in Canada.” AtG’s 2013 production of Figaro’s Wedding received seven Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations, winning the award for Best New Musical/Opera. Its 2014 production of #UncleJohn also garnered several nominations. The arts community has embraced the AtG, as has a much wider, more diverse audience of people who may have never considered attending an opera. For more information, please visit www.againstthegraintheatre.com.

ABOUT THE CORPORATION OF MASSEY HALL AND ROY THOMSON HALL
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall is a not-for-profit charitable organization operating two of Canada’s premier concert halls. Showcasing the world’s greatest performers in all disciplines, the two halls are also prominent venues for diverse activities in the business and entertainment district of downtown Toronto. Managed by a professional management team with a volunteer Board of Governors, the Corporation’s mission is to provide a world- renowned environment to showcase international artists and entertainment; to provide public space for the cultural and corporate communities of the Greater Toronto Area; to support the development of Canadian talent; to increase and enhance its worldwide profile as a leader in the arts community through its professionalism and programming.

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For images, interviews or more information, please contact:

Caitlin Coull, Communications Director

Against the Grain Theatre

caitlincoull@gmail.com

Meghan McCready, Media Relations and Promotions Associate

meghan.mccready@rth-mh.com