Don't miss: Bandits in the Valley Photo: Dahlia Katz.

Don't miss: Bandits in the Valley

Jenna Simeonov

With Bandits in the Valley, the “delightfully whimsical short opera” playing this month in the historic buildings of Todmorden Mills, Tapestry Opera is illuminating the obscure history of Toronto’s Don Valley.

“It is fascinating that the average Torontonian’s understanding of Toronto’s history is pretty limited,” says Tapestry Artistic Director Michael Mori. “We are all a pretty new lot here, and so stories about the bandits in the Don Valley in the late 1800s and far-reaching industrial innovations that came from people like George Taylor are news to everyone except historians.”

Jacques Arsenault in Bandits in the Valley, Tapestry Opera, 2017. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Bandits in the Valley, by composer Benton Roark and librettist Julie Tepperman, features a cast of staple Canadian talent: tenor Keith Klassen, soprano Jennifer Taverner, tenor Jacques Arsenault, baritone Alex Dobson, soprano Sara Schabas, and mezzo-soprano Stephanie Tritchew.

Although Tapestry Opera has built its history on creating opera that’s innovative and new, Bandits still stands out as a unique offering from the company. The “instrument wielding” singers perform in the beautiful park setting of Todmorden Mills, and “they go deep and hilariously into a clever libretto written by Julie Tepperman to folk infused scoring by Benton Roark.”

Sara Schabas and Stephanie Tritchew (background) in Bandits in the Valley, Tapestry Opera, 2017. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

“Opera can often be about the hardest moments in life, the betrayals, the murders, the situations that carry high stakes and dire consequences,” says Mori. “But this is an opera that expresses a great joy in its making of music and an unpretentious story that might just end well.”

Jacques Arsenault (background), Jennifer Taverner, and Keith Klassen in Bandits in the Valley, Tapestry Opera, 2017. Photo by Dahlia Katz.

Bandits in the Valley performs on Saturdays (12noon, 1:20pm, and 3:40pm) and Sundays (1:30pm and 3:00pm) until September 30. Advance reservations are sold out, but this week Tapestry released a handful of tickets, and there are a limited number of rush seats available before each show. For full details, cick here.

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