All posts by Keira Grant

Review: La Bohème (Canadian Opera Company)

The Canadian Opera Company’s current elegantly simple production of Giacomo Puccini’s La Bohème is aural perfection. Regardless of what certain pompous composers and music historians have had to say about Puccini’s composition style, there is a reason why he has been an audience favourite for almost one hundred and fifty years. In my view Puccini is what opera is all about. Towering, raw emotion in response to life and death situations and breathtaking musical beauty. Continue reading Review: La Bohème (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: All of our Dreaming (Dreamwalker Dance Company)

Dreamwalker Dance Company’s current presentation All of our Dreaming, dramaturged by Sarah Chase opens with an intimate performance in the antechamber of the theatre of Grace Theatre Centre. The audience sat in a semi-circle on the floor, cushions, and camp stools enclosing company founder and artistic director Andrea Nann as she delivered In a Landscape, a solo choreographed by Peggy Baker that comes across as highly personal. This modern dance piece is accompanied by a rippling piano piece of the same name by John Cage. The walls and ceilings are draped with back-lit sheets, upon which were projected stencils of flowers and patterns (designed by Elysha Poirier), heightening the cocoon-like feel of the space. The experience, characterized by impossibly supple and graceful gestures by Nann, set the tone for the performances that followed on themes of nature, transformation and spiritual discovery. Continue reading Review: All of our Dreaming (Dreamwalker Dance Company)

Review: Kopernikus (Against the Grain Theatre)

Against the Grain Theatre presents a unique piece of experimental opera in Toronto

Against the Grain Theatre‘s production of Kopernikus: A Ritual Opera for the Dead by late Montreal composer Claude Vivier is unlike anything I have seen at the opera to date. This unique piece blurs the lines between dance, opera and theatre and pushes the boundaries of our understanding of operatic singing. In the composer’s own words “there is no story” and the experience is much more akin to a musical meditation than watching a show. Continue reading Review: Kopernikus (Against the Grain Theatre)

Preview: Ergo Pink Fest (Ergo Arts Theatre)

Ergo Pink Fest gathers women and non-binary theatre creatives for an intensive in Toronto

I sincerely hope that Ergo Pink Fest (Ergo Arts Theatre) becomes part of Toronto’s spring theatre tradition. If the collective spirit of the playwrights, dramaturges, and performers gathered at the kick-off reception is any indication, Toronto’s West End is in for a innovative and refreshingly off-beat weekend of incubator theatre by women and non-binary playwrights. Continue reading Preview: Ergo Pink Fest (Ergo Arts Theatre)

Review: Towards Youth: A Play on Radical Hope (Project: Humanity/Crow’s Theatre)

I was not familiar with the concept of a documentary play before seeing Towards Youth: A Play on Radical Hope by Project: Humanity and Crow’s Theatre. Of course we are all familiar with a documentary movie, where the idea is to film real life events to entertain, inform, and educate. It turns out that a documentary play involves actors dramatizing real life events – in this case a theatre research project wherein youth in high school classes around the world collaborate on creating a show about their own lives under the guidance of a professor of theatre. Continue reading Review: Towards Youth: A Play on Radical Hope (Project: Humanity/Crow’s Theatre)

Review: The Angel Speaks (Opera Atelier)

Opera Atelier is continuing its recent trend of pushing the boundaries of historically-informed early music performance practice by uniting staid, Baroque song and dance with sinuous contemporary ballet and music commissions in The Angel Speaks. The venue for this show was experimental as well, taking place in the Samuel Hall Currelly Gallery in the Royal Ontario Museum. Continue reading Review: The Angel Speaks (Opera Atelier)

Review: Elektra (Canadian Opera Company)

0033 – Christine Goerke as Elektra (at left) in a scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Elektra, 2019. Conductor Johannes Debus, director James Robinson, associate director Omer Ben Seadia, set designer Derek McLane, costume designer Anita Stewart, and lighting designer Mimi Jordan Sherin. Photo: Michael Cooper

I was excited to see Christine Goerke, Brünnhilde of Canadian Opera Company’s most recent mount of the Ring Cycle operas, return to the COC stage as Richard Strauss’ Elektra in the 2019 production on stage until February 22. Directed by James Robinson, the production is a stylistically updated remount of a production developed by the late Richard Bradshaw in 1997. Continue reading Review: Elektra (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: Hook Up (Tapestry Opera)

Hook Up, a world premiere opera commissioned by Tapestry Opera was like taking a walk down the memory lane of about 20 years, the good, the bad and the ugly. Three high school friends are excited to embark on the journey towards adulthood that is first year University. They soon realize that being away from home for the first time is a lot more complicated than parties and sexual exploration. Continue reading Review: Hook Up (Tapestry Opera)

Review: Hair (Hart House Theatre)

The ’60s musical Hair takes the stage at Toronto’s Hart House Theatre

Hart House Theatre’s choice to produce Hair, one of the most controversial and infamous musicals in the rep could not be more timely or delightful. The musical’s relevance as a pop culture influencer is undeniable. I was born more than 10 years after the premiere performance and I am very familiar with many of the anthems and the key themes. It is now 50 years on from the 1968 premiere and we are in the era of #metoo rather than free love. Suffice it to say, I was curious to see this show through an early 21st century filter. Continue reading Review: Hair (Hart House Theatre)