Category Archives: Upcoming

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

“Opera Pub brings this most secret of pleasures to astonished newcomers”

By | AtG in the News, Opera Pub, Press, Upcoming | No Comments

Looks like Toronto’s best-kept secret is out… The Globe and Mail secretly attended our last free Opera Pub and gave us two pints up 

Next event: Feb 1, 9pm at the The Amsterdam Bicycle Club

"Full-scale opera is daunting to attend largely because of the cost of it. Making it free and intimate is showing to ever-larger groups of astonished newcomers how thrilling it is to hear a beautiful trained voice singing a famous work of art. Ventures like these, as they pop up around the world, are the best way of publicizing this most secret of pleasures."

− The Globe and Mail

"The audience – lots of bearded youth mixed in with the white heads – is not typical for opera. Quite a few hands went up when asked who had never seen an opera before."

− The Globe and Mail

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Just announced: Screen and stage legend Martha Burns joins BOUND cast

By | Behind the scenes, Bound, Canadian Opera Company, Media Release, Upcoming | No Comments

Gemini, Genie and Dora Award—winning actor Martha Burns joins the cast of BOUND (Dec 14–16, 2017). In this groundbreaking, dystopian production featuring reconstructed music by Handel, she plays the role of The State.

Martha Burns has performed leading roles at the Stratford and Shaw Festivals and at theatres across the country. A founding member of Soulpepper Theatre, she developed their youth mentorship and Soulpepper in School programs. She is a double Gemini winner (Best Actress in a Leading Role, Slings and Arrows), the recipient of two Best Supporting Actress Genie Awards (Long Day’s Journey Into Night and Love and Savagery), two Dora Mavor Moore Awards (Trafford Tanzi and The Miracle Worker), and the winner of the 2005 Barbara Hamilton Award for Excellence and Professionalism in the Performing Arts. With actor/writer Susan Coyne, Burns wrote and directed the TIFF’08 short, How Are You?, and produced and directed the documentary Robin, Mark and Richard III. She has served on the boards of Canadian Stage, the Shaw Festival, Peggy Baker Dance Projects and the Toronto Council for the Arts, and most recently worked with performers from Nunavut’s Qaggiavuut society to create the play Kiviuq Returns. She currently teaches acting at the National Theatre School.

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We need you to join our global virtual chorus!

By | Joel Ivany, Orphee, Uncategorized, Upcoming, Video, Volunteer | No Comments

Against the Grain Theatre, Opera Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, and Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in Banff, Alberta are co-producing a brand new production of Gluck/Berlioz’s groundbreaking opera Orphée et Eurydice. At the time it was written, Orphée et Eurydice changed the way opera was produced and experienced; we hope to do the same with this daring interpretation. This production features a new electronic orchestration, baroque burlesque dancers, sopranos singing from silks and (hopefully) you, part of our Global Virtual Chorus.

This is where you come in.

We need you to record your voice to three excerpts from the opera. Submitted videos will be stitched together with hundreds of other videos and projected onto our set, and your voice will be mixed to sync with our LIVE Opera orchestra (cool, right?)!

NEXT STEPS:

  1. Watch the videos and practice (for sheet music, click here)
  2. Record your video(s)
  3. Submit them via Dropbox or WeTransfer to virtualchorus@operacolumbus.org
  4. Be amazed!

Watch the introduction video here and click-through to YouTube and become a part of the Global Virtual Chorus!

Q: When is the deadline for submissions?
A: January 15, 2018

Q: Where do I submit my video(s)?
A: You can submit them here.

Q: Can I submit a video for just one chorus section?
A: Yes!

Q: Will I get credit for my piece?
A: Yes! The programs of each performance will have the names listed inside

Q: Do I have to sing in French?
A: Yes – the entire production will be performed in French. If French isn’t a language you speak, you can learn the pronunciation from the Diction videos.

*Thank you for donating your time and submitting your virtual-chorus videos! By submitting these materials, you have read the following and agree to: allow the designers and creative team the use your image, voice, and likeness in all productions of Orphée et Eurydice. You acknowledge that your voluntary submission may be used entirely at and in the discretion of the producing companies. As a voluntary submission, you will not seek any compensation from the producers. Your submission is greatly valued, however, we may not use all submissions in the final project. Any persons with an Equity affiliation must have notified the producers before submission.

 

 

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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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