The first Thursday of every month (We’re on Summer Hiatus: June–Sept 2017. Don’t hate us!)
October 5, 2017 at 9pm
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.
“There are times when we might begin,” says AtG Music Director Christopher Mokrzewski, “and a few bar regulars, who may not have known this was going to happen, find themselves totally absorbed by the spectacle. Or they hate it and leave. Either outcome is okay, as far as I’m concerned.”
It’s a simple idea, and one that could be a fantastic introduction for an opera newcomer. In the familiar environment of a pub, with no oppressive silence or close-quarters seating, people can enjoy opera in short bursts. Listeners have a drink in hand, they can get up and leave whenever they want, and they’re essentially left wanting more. Opera truly is best consumed live, and it’s hard to get more real-life than in a cozy pub.
Ivany has seen the results for himself in Oslo, and more recently in Banff. “One of my most memorable Opera Pubs was hearing Caitlin Wood singing an aria from Giulio Cesare,” he says. “It was exciting, it was electric and the audience was cheering and clapping DURING the aria. It seemed that she was fueled by the energy and put it into each ornament. Was very cool.”
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.
Photos by Darryl Block
Final event before we go on summer hiatus:
May 4, 2017
Returning Oct 5, 2017
Discounted pitchers of beer
Amsterdam Bicycle Club
54 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON, M5E 1A6
Sign up to sing
"It has the feeling of an after party when musicians kick back, loosen up and playfully make music with their friends"− Musical Toronto
"Opera truly is best consumed live, and it’s hard to get more real-life than in a cozy pub."− Schmopera
"It was loud, it was fun and the audience, not all of whom I suspect knew what they were in for, stayed."− Opera Ramblings
Host and Artistic Director
Joel Ivany is the Founder and Artistic Director of AtG, and is the program director of Banff Centre’s “Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century.” His directing credits include productions of Verdi’s Macbeth (Minnesota Opera), Carmen (Vancouver Opera), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Edmonton Opera), Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever (Adelaide Festival) and Le nozze di Figaro (revival at Norwegian National Opera). He is the author of five (and counting) original librettos. He was a Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee for Outstanding Direction (AtG’s Figaro’s Wedding), Outstanding New Opera/Musical (AtG’s #UncleJohn) and the recipient of the same prize for Figaro’s Wedding. Recent mainstage directing credits include debuts at the Canadian Opera Company (Carmen) and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem). His 2016/2017 engagements include AtG’s Ayre, a new production of Dead Man Walking (Vancouver Opera), a revival of AtG’s hit La Bohème, and a semi-staged presentation of The Seven Deadly Sins (Toronto Symphony Orchestra).
Conductor, pianist and vocal coach, Topher “Verklemption” Mokrzewski is a steadily rising figure in the world of Canadian opera. He is serving his fourth season as Resident Conductor of Calgary Opera, and is Music Director of both AtG and the Open Space Opera Program at The Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio, he is frequently sought as a soloist, collaborator and music director. He recently conducted Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado and Ravel’s L’enfant et les Sortilèges at Calgary Opera (where he also served as assistant conductor for Lakmé, Die tote Stadt and Die Zauberflöte) and Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia with Against the Grain Theatre at the Banff Centre and Toronto Summer Music Festival. In 2016/2017, Topher returns to his duties at Calgary Opera, Against the Grain Theatre and Banff Centre and will also return to the music staff of the Canadian Opera Company.
Editorial & Digital Media Manager
Toronto-based editor and copywriter Amanda Hadi is best known to AtG as the “GZA Genius” for her outrageously quick wit and damn good ideas. She has worked for the Canadian Opera Company, the City of Ottawa Public Art Program, several creative branding studios in Toronto, and, most recently, as the Social Media Officer for the Art Gallery of Ontario. She is currently a Digital Engagement Producer for the Toronto International Film Festival.
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.
Volunteer & Administrative Manager
Allison “NKOTB” Bent brings experience from both sides of the stage. A professional percussionist, she holds degrees in performance from the University of Toronto, Cleveland State University, and The Glenn Gould School. Allison has performed with many orchestras in Canada and the US, including the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, the Winnipeg Symphony, the Buffalo Philharmonic, and the Canadian Opera Company. By day she works as an orchestra personnel administrator at the TSO.
Box Office Manager
After years on the road as a travelling ukulele player, Holly “Bling” Coish finally settled down in Toronto. Currently the Audience Services Coordinator for Opera Atelier, she has also worked in Box Offices at the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto International Film Festival, Koerner Hall, and Orchestra London. Highlights of her musical career include playing onstage with the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and performing to a sold-out Massey Hall audience in 2014.
Guest Host & Pianist
Pianist David Eliakis has collaborated with some of Canada’s finest singers and has worked with world-reknowned artists such as Isabel Bayrakdarian, Warren Jones, Julius Rudel, and Sir Martin Isepp. After graduating from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music, David was awarded an Ontario Arts Council grant to study privately with Warren Jones in New York City. Since then he has also worked with Roger Vignoles, Rudolf Jansen, Dalton Baldwin, and Graham Johnson. David works as a collaborative pianist and voice coach at the University of Toronto and The Royal Conservatory of Music. Here he has had the honour of performing for Carol Vaness, Sherill Milnes, Russel Braun, and Håkan Hagegård to name just a few. David’s performances have taken him to the stages of Brazil, Switzerland (for the World Economic Forum), England (where he was a finalist in the Wigmore Hall Song Competition with soprano Measha Brueggergosman), Germany, Bermuda, and the Maritime Provinces. In 2006 David attended the Aspen Summer Music Festival on a fellowship as part of a production of Verdi’s La Traviata conducted by Grammy winner Julius Rudel, directed by Ed Berkley of Juilliard. In 2010 David returned as musical director and pianist in SOLT’s production of Don Giovanni – previous productions with SOLT included Lakmé, Tancredi, and Dido & Aeneas, conducted by Kevin Mallon.
Guest Host & Pianist
Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, pianist Rachael Kerr is a versatile performer, frequently appearing as a soloist, collaborator, coach, and chamber musician. She was recently featured in a performance of Messiaen’s Oiseaux Exotiques with the Northwestern University Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and was invited back to be the soloist for Stravinsky’s Concerto for Piano and Winds the next season. Rachael has also received fellowships to the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativty, Toronto Summer Music Festival, Tanglewood Music Center and the Aspen Music Festival. Rachael is currently a collaborative pianist in the Toronto area, joining the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio for the 2017—2018 season. She is also one of the founding members of the MIR trio, with Mark Skazinetsky and Igor Gefter. She has been the rehearsal pianist for several notable TSO concerts, including a semi-staged version of Mozart’s Requiem, Shostakovich’s magnificent “Babi Yar” Symphony, the Faure Requiem, Weill’s Seven Deadly Sins, and the cornerstone work of the 2016 New Creations Festival, Knocking at the Hellgate by Brett Dean. She has also been a substitute orchestral pianist in the Toronto Symphony, Beijing Symphony, and the Niagara Symphony. She has recently served as a substitute pianist for the Elmer Iseler Singers and the Amadeus Choir of Toronto, in addition to working as an accompanist at the Glenn Gould School of the Royal Conservatory.