Opera Atelier is a world leader in the rediscovery and revitalization of period opera and ballet, particularly works from the Baroque era. Through their historically informed productions, Founding Co-Artistic Directors Marshall Pynkoski and Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg seek to provide a thrilling theatrical experience for modern audiences. Opera Atelier's productions are performed withTafelmusik Baroque Orchestra on period instruments, and incorporate music, dance and theatrical staging with strong production values.
Feminism & confetti: Atelier's triple-bill
Thank goodness for one-act operas. They're like a shot of great espresso, or a single chocolate truffle - the kind of indulgence that's short-lived, but immediate and totally satisfying. Among all the lengthy, luxuriating opera we see - all the da capo arias and all the Wagner - compact one-acts like Actéon and Pygmalion allow even the most hardcore of opera fans to admit that their attention spans don't always like to be stretched so thin.Read More
A daring & desirous double-bill at Opera Atelier
Such longevity puts it among the upper echelon of Canadian opera companies in Canada - a feat more impressive when we consider that Atelier performs exclusively 17th- and 18th-century baroque opera. It's almost impossible to resist saying it: "If it ain't baroque, don't fix it."Read More
"How lucky are we, the children of opera?"
"When she was under 10 I would leave notes with little gifts for her to open and would call frequently. As she got older, these calls became more like interruptions to her and it was obvious that less was more. My husband [and stage director] Michael Cavanagh (her step father since age 3) was also travelling a lot so her normal was parentals coming and going."Read More
#Doras2017: "yes, and..."
None of this is to minimize the work and merit of the 2017 Dora Award nominees. Yet it's a list that's desperately incomplete. Perhaps the juror qualifications exclude too many people with knowledgeable and unbiased connections to the Toronto industry. More importantly, maybe the TAPA membership qualifications are prohibitive to what much of Toronto's opera and theatre scenes can manage.Read More
In review: Dido and Aeneas
Speaking of the Ballet, this is some of the most athletic dancing I've seen them do yet. An actor friend of mine once described period dancing as "just fancy walking". This is proof of the opposite. The lines, shapes and footwork were energetic, clean, and emotionally executed. For once I found the ladies large skirts accented and enhanced their choreography, rather than getting the way of me enjoying their fancy footwork.Read More
Spotlight on: Whitney Mather
"You get a rare opportunity to look into someone else's mind and heart and see the world how they do and it helps me to live with a little bit more grace than I may otherwise. It is also constantly a practice of bettering one's self, not only technically and musically, but personally, and I think that the grit required to look at yourself in such a critical way can only help you to be a better person in your every day life."Read More
Talking with singers: Wallis Giunta
Canadian mezzo-soprano Wallis Giunta spoke to us from St. Louis, between performances of Angelina in La Cenerentola and Rossweise in Die Walküre, both at Oper Leipzig. She's also getting ready to sing Mercédès in Oper Frankfurt's Carmen in July, before returning to Toronto for the title role in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas at Opera Atelier in October.Watch Video
Talking with singers: Meghan Lindsay
"To me, the most rewarding thing about a singing career is the relationships you form. I love the fact that music is another language that we can explore and play with. I really enjoy practicing and find that part of the process very gratifying. There's something very meditative in doing something every day and knowing that each day, there are going to be different challenges and changes to my situation, in my voice, in my interactions."Read More
"Vergesst uns nicht!": Adi Braun on Weimar cabaret
In the Weimar era, there seemed to be a cabaret for just about anybody. The dinner-theatre style of cabaret was common, says Adi, but there were also "comedy clubs, gay cabarets and political cabarets, [and] each cabaret likely had its own audience."Read More
In review: Opera Atelier's Armide
Earlier this month I spoke with OA Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski, who said, "love can be something that saves people or destroys people. Love is amoral. Love cuts through like a knife – anyone in love is cut open. Love is more powerful than hate, but that doesn’t mean it’s a happy ending."Read More
Marshall Pynkoski on Armide: "Love is amoral."
It's a twist on a tragic love story that seems progressive for its 17th century creation. "By the end of the opera no one wants to feel hate more than Armide, but her tragedy is that she can now only feel love. There are no winners and no losers: love has annihilated everyone."Read More
Kyra Millan: Arts Education counts
Performer, teacher and artist educator Kyra Millan has taught countless students of all ages in school classrooms and in her private studio. She started the GLEESICAL music theatre program at the Classical Music Conservatory, and she leads workshops at the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, the Royal Conservatory of Music, Workman Arts, and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health.Watch Video
Talking with singers: Ambur Braid
Dramatic coloratura soprano Ambur Braid has been on our interview wish-list since Schmopera's day one. Her choice repertoire consists largely of "evil, crazy royalty," where she can show off her staggering high notes and coloratura so fast you can blink and miss it.Watch Video
Idealism & questions about unions
I'll never be quoted as saying that artists deserve to be paid less than they already do. They work incredibly hard in a specialized set of skills. I think it's important, though, to be self-aware in an industry that's ubiquitously almost out of money. Will the unions be the first to adapt to a contemporary opera economy, or should contemporary artists be the ones to take the bold steps for the sake of the industry (perhaps martyring themselves along the way)?Read More
Greg & Jenna's 2014/15 Opera Season Roundup
Greg Finney and I caught plenty of shows together over the 2014/15 opera season in Toronto, and we like to join forces with our reviews to see where we agree, disagree, come to fisticuffs, etc. I figured a recap of our most memorable of the year was in order, so, over some wine, Greg & I chat about what shows, and which artists, we both loved.Watch Video
In review: Orpheus & Eurydice at Opera Atelier
A collaborative review with contributor Greg Finney of Opera Atelier production of Orpheus & Eurydice at Opera Atelier.Read More
Opera in Spring
With the official end of winter less than a week away, it's time to mark your calendars with some spring opera-going. Here are a few of the events I'm catching over the next couple of months.Read More
What comes first, the union or the gig?
Don’t get me wrong, Like I said, unions have their upsides for sure. They protect the artists (anyone doing a community theatre/amateur company production who’s lived through at 16-hour tech day understands) so they don’t become slaves. That’s great. The problem is, once you reach a certain echelon of companies (Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, Pacific Opera Victoria, Toronto Operetta Theatre, et al…) you won’t even be considered for anything if you’re not a card-carrying member.Read More
He Said/She Said: Alcina at Opera Atelier
Greg and I headed to the Elgin Theatre to see opening night of Opera Atelier's Alcina, and we teamed up on another joint review. Bonus: Greg can speak intelligently about Atelier Ballet, something I won't pretend to know well.Read More
Talking with singers: Aaron Ferguson
Canadian tenor Aaron Ferguson is a busy guy. He's sung at the Glimmerglass Festival, Opéra de Montréal, Pacific Opera Victoria, and the Royal Opera of Versailles. He just closed a run of Lully's Persée here in Toronto at Opera Atelier, and he's getting ready to take it to Versailles later this month.Watch Video