All posts by Keira Grant

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)

Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Canadian Opera Company presents a kid-friendly take on Cinderella, on stage in Toronto

Not everyone knows about the excellent programming the Canadian Opera Company produces for children, youth and families. This year’s iteration of Opera for Young Audiences‘ annual kid’s opera, Wow Factor, was a modernized version of Rossini’s masterpiece La Cenerentola. Based on Cinderella, one of the most beloved children’s stories of all time, the opera is a great candidate for a kid-friendly reimagining. Wow Factor is in English and set in a middle school. Continue reading Review: Wow Factor: A Cinderella Story (Canadian Opera Company)

Preview: Canoe/Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon/Weesageechak31)

Weesageechak31 explores new Indigenous works including a new opera debuting in Toronto in 2019

Weesageechak Begins to Dance is akin to a festival of extended, live trailers of Indigenous performing arts in development. It is an excellent opportunity to get a taste of what’s up and coming and the breadth of Indigenous creative ingenuity. This year’s festival, Weesageechak31, gave me the opportunity to see previews of two operas in development that explore themes of celebrating Native culture and mourning cultural genocide. Beyond Butterfly, the panel that followed excerpts from Canoe and Shanawdithit, asked “how do we bring more diversity into opera without perpetuating the stereotypes and exoticization that are part of the genre’s history?”

Continue reading Preview: Canoe/Shanawdithit (Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon/Weesageechak31)

Review: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mirvish Productions)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory dazzles Toronto audiences of all ages with a musical sweet treat

My 6-year-old son and I had a blast at Mirvish ProductionsRoald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, currently on stage at the Princess of Wales Theatre until January 6, 2019. It was a very late school night for a little kid and sitting still for over two hours isn’t his strong suit at the best of times. There were certainly enough lights, sound, action and stage effects to hold his attention and he was still captivated when the final curtain went down at 10 PM. Continue reading Review: Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Mirvish Productions)

Review: Her Inside Life/Kill the Poor (Low Rise Productions/Leroy Street Theatre)

A double bill of George F. Walker’s plays is now on stage in Toronto

Her Inside Life and Kill the Poor, presented by Low Rise Productions and Leroy Street Theatre respectively is curious as a double bill. The two plays are from The Parkdale Palace Trilogy by celebrated Canadian playwright George F. Walker and have the right mix of contrast and similarity for the juxtaposition to be interesting. Both works are also substantial enough to be standalone pieces. Playgoers have the option of seeing the show as a double bill or independently. Continue reading Review: Her Inside Life/Kill the Poor (Low Rise Productions/Leroy Street Theatre)

Review: Actéon and Pygmalion (Opera Atelier)

Toronto’s Opera Atelier presents a double bill: Charpentier’s Actéon and Rameau’s Pygmalion

Opera Atelier’s 2018 fall production Actéon & Pygmalion is a Greek mythology double feature presenting Charpentier’s rendering of Actéon and Rameau’s interpretation of Pygmalion. Premiering over 50 years apart in 1684 and 1748 respectively, both works are quintessential examples of early French opera and staple fare for Opera Atelier. This production branched out from the company’s usual wheelhouse by introducing Pygmalion with their first commissioned new work. Continue reading Review: Actéon and Pygmalion (Opera Atelier)