Against the Grain Theatre: Banff-bound in 2016

Against the Grain Theatre: Banff-bound in 2016

Jenna Simeonov

The announcement is out, and it’s official: Against the Grain Theatre will spend a third summer at The Banff Centre, for Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century, a program in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company.

Open Space is noticeably forward-thinking in its approach to training young artists. 13 young singers, 1 assistant director, and 1 assistant répétiteur will be selected for 5 weeks of music and staging rehearsals, lessons, coachings, and performance opportunities within the Banff community. “The focus of Open Space is to impart the skills of tomorrow to the young opera professionals of today.” In a recent article for Huff Post, Against the Grain Artistic Director Joel Ivany wrote, “In just two years, I believe this program has shown Canada (and the opera industry) an alternative. It has become a place of excitement, development, and collaboration.”

In 2014, Open Space brought the first production of #UncleJohn, the second in AtG’s Mozart/Ivany trilogy of “transladaptations”, preceded by Figaro’s Wedding in 2013. The program expanded the following year, to include a staged concert of chamber music directed by Joel Ivany and Amiel Gladstone, as well as two productions: James Rolfe and Anna Chatterton’s Crush, and A Little Too Cozy, the final Mozart/Ivany piece, based on Così fan tutte.

In June and July 2016, AtG, the COC, and The Banff Centre collaborate on two productions, and a staged presentation of 20th and 21st century vocal chamber music. Scottish director Paul Curren directs Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, conducted by AtG Music Director and Calgary Opera Resident Concuctor Topher Mokrzewski, and Joel Ivany directs Three Weddings and a Funeral!, a #MozartMurderMystery, conducted by Miloš Repický. I don’t know about you, readers, but all of that sounds like an exciting summer.

The faculty at Open Space will be impressive, as usual, including Alexander Neef, COC General Director, Canadian baritone Russell Braun, and star soprano Adrianne Pieczonka. No doubt there will be more to announce in the coming months, so stay tuned.

*Bonus info you can’t yet get on their website: yours truly will be heading out west once again, to join the music staff for Open Space 2016. We’ll introduce you to the artists, and bring you behind-the-scenes with some of Canada’s most exciting developments in opera. (To get caught up, check out the Related Articles links below.)

Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century runs June 12-July 18, 2016, and auditions happen February 1-8 (tentative schedule). To apply and find out full details, click here.

Related Content



Unlike other sites, we're keeping Schmopera ad-free. We want to keep our site clean and our opinions our own. Support us for as little as $1.00 per month.