The Banff Centre partners with Against the Grain Theatre and Canadian Opera Company for innovative new opera training program
This summer, The Banff Centre will partner with Toronto’s Against the Grain Theatre and the Canadian Opera Company for a new performance training program that will take opera off the stage and into the community.
“The Banff Centre has been involved in training the next generation of opera stars for more than 50 years, and this program represents, more definitively than anything we’ve ever done, the future of opera and opera training,” said Carolyn Warren, Vice President, Arts at The Banff Centre. “We’re thrilled to partner with Against the Grain Theatre and the Canadian Opera Company, organizations that represent both foundation and experiment in this vital art form in Canada.”
Called Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century, the program will run July 6 through Aug. 2, 2014 at The Banff Centre, under the leadership of stage director Joel Ivany and music director Christopher Mokrzewski. Guest instructors will include Canadian Opera Company General Director Alexander Neef and COC Music Director Johannes Debus.
“Since its launch three years ago, Against the Grain Theatre has developed into one of the most exciting new opera initiatives in the country,” said Alexander Neef. “I’ve been watching the company grow, and am proud to play a role in fostering this extraordinary new generation of artists and producers. Many of the artists associated with AtG performances have trained with the COC or appear regularly with the company. In fact, AtG’s artistic director Joel Ivany has served as assistant director with the COC on multiple occasions and music director Christopher Mokrzewski is a graduate of our Ensemble Studio training program. The Banff Centre is one of the finest incubators of fresh talent, and this partnership presents a unique opportunity for the COC to support AtG’s bold explorations into new realms of opera.”
Following auditions in Toronto and Vancouver, eight emerging professional opera singers will be invited to the intensive. They will workshop skills that challenge the conventions of opera performance, production and design, and develop a modern interpretation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni for presentation at venues throughout the Banff community.
“This residency demonstrates something heartening,” said Christopher Mokrzewski. “Two of the most established and respected cultural institutions in Canada — which already employ innovative and creative thinking of their own — are willing to support the development of an indie opera company that occasionally turns convention on its head. This shows vision, confidence and a true commitment to the vitality of the artform. I’m chuffed!”
At the end of the residency, artists will spend two days of concentrated sessions with Neef and Debus, and premiere Uncle John, an updated production of Don Giovanni set in Banff in 2014, with a new English libretto by Joel Ivany.
“This is a significant moment for AtG, as we share our work with a broader audience with the help of The Banff Centre, and in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company," said Joel Ivany. “The Open Space program will stretch us in new ways, which is crucial for a young company, especially one as independent as ours. I couldn’t be more excited and proud to partner with these two organizations. We're doing something different and important. I can't wait to collaborate with the young artists who will participate in our program.”
The program's world-class faculty includes playwright/director Daniel MacIvor, pianist/conductor Stephen Hargreaves and mezzo-soprano Judith Forst.
Full program details
Thursday, January 16, 2014
News: The Banff Centre partners with Against the Grain Theatre and Canadian Opera Company for training program (press release)
Posted by THE CHARLEBOIS POST at 4:59 PM