The loss of one’s parents is probably the most dreaded, expected life event for most people. I do not really like to talk about it for fear the Grim Reaper will suddenly jump up and snatch them as though summoned. Dead Parent Society is about finding healing through humor in this intimate, grief-themed sketch comedy show. Continue reading Review: Dead Parents Society (Buddies in Bad Times Theatre)
The COC’s Rusalka is a full-body immersive experience that tingles the spine
In the Canadian Opera Company’s current presentation of the Chicago Lyric Opera production of Rusalka, by Antonin Dvořák, the storytelling begins during the overture, before the curtain comes up. The dedication to telling a philosophical and darkly beautiful version of this well-known fairy tale is unwavering to the final haunting note.
Continue reading Review: Rusalka (Canadian Opera Company)
Cheers to Opera in a Bar, Against the Grain Theatre Tours La Boheme across Canada
Over the last decade, Toronto-based company Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) has built a reputation for re-imagining old works and creating boundary-pushing new opera productions. In honour of its Tenth Anniversary, the company is remounting its inaugural production of La Bohème, this time taking the show on the road.
I was curious about the piece and asked the Artistic Director of AtG some questions about the production, which has visited Banff and 7 other communities between it and Toronto, many of which do not have regular access to opera.
Continue reading Preview: La Boheme returns to Against the Grain Theatre
Turandot is conversation-sparking opera, on stage in Toronto
With the blackface scandal fresh in everyone’s mind, it is a complex time for Canadian Opera Company to mount Turandot, Giacomo Puccini’s final, and most musically complex opera. Turandot’s story resets the bar for the complexities of the cultural appropriation discussion: it is an ancient Persian fairy tale, set in even more ancient China, which made the rounds through Europe in a variety of incarnations in the 18th and 19th centuries before becoming the basis for an Italian opera in the early 20th century. Since its premiere in 1926, one year after Puccini’s death, the performance tradition has relied upon the most hackneyed tropes of orientalism (think dragons and gongs) to tell a fantastical tale occurring in a make-believe “China.” Continue reading Review: Turandot (Canadian Opera Company)
Cirque du Soleil returns with their classic show Alegría updated and revamped
Seeing Cirque du Soleil live has been on my bucket list ever since I was mesmerized by the TV ads for their then-new and ground-breaking show Alegría in 1994. Sadly, my parents were musical theatre people and not really circus people so they declined my persistent requests for tickets. When I was finally setting off on Thursday night to see the show’s 2019 re-imagining, Alegría in a New Light, a quarter century from its debut, I was struck with a moment of panic. After 25 years of anticipation, was there any chance it would live up to my expectations? Thankfully Alegría in a New Light is absolutely magical and surpassed more than half a lifetime of expectations. Continue reading Review: Alegría in a New Light (Cirque du Soleil)