All posts by Keira Grant

Review: Pandora (Fawn Chamber Creative)

Pandora blends opera and ballet to explore the tale of the classic myth, on stage in Toronto

Pandora, by librettist James Brock and composers Joseph Glaser, Kit Soden and David Storen was my first Fawn Chamber Creative show. I am astonished that I did not know about this company before, but I am glad I am in the know now. Their current production Pandora (musical direction, Adam Scime, stage direction, Amanda Smith) is an opera-ballet inspired by the Pandora myth. The opera unfolds in a vignette by each of the three composers, with all three libretti written by Brock. Continue reading Review: Pandora (Fawn Chamber Creative)

Review: Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon)

Tapestry Opera presents the premiere of a landmark Canadian-Indigenous in Toronto

Musically and thematically Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon’s world premiere Shanawdithit is a testament to the possibilities of new opera. While the story is historical, it explores the subject of colonization in a manner that is very much in contrast to opera’s history of romanticizing, exoticizing or orientalizing non-Western European cultures. Continue reading Review: Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon)

Review: Inner Elder (NativeEarth/Nightwood Theatre)

In the era of Truth and Reconciliation, Michelle Thrush’s one-woman show, Inner Elder, is an engaging breath of fresh air for anyone who hasn’t gotten around to reading the report yet. Written by Michelle Thrush and directed by Karen Hines, the hour-long show is part storytelling, part stand-up and very funny. Thrush effectively uses humour to tackle heavy subject matter such as anti-Indigenous racism and stereotypes, residential schools and land claims. Continue reading Review: Inner Elder (NativeEarth/Nightwood Theatre)

Review: Otello (Canadian Opera Company)

The Canadian Opera Company brings a perfect interpretation of Verdi’s Otello to the Toronto stage

Canadian Opera Company’s current production of Giuseppe Verdi’s Otello is the perfect interpretation of this well-known tale for 2019. The original story by Cinthio on which Shakespeare’s play is based was meant as a cautionary tale on the perils of interracial marriage and miscegenation. This production of Verdi’s opera, directed by David Alden comes across as the story of an unscrupulous man fueled by vengeance and racism using his foe’s internalized racism to manipulate him and bring about his demise. Continue reading Review: Otello (Canadian Opera Company)

Review: La Bohème (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company’s revival of its 2013 production of La Bohème is aural perfection

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)