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Against the Grain Theatre’s MESSIAH / COMPLEX earns the first-ever OPERA America Digital Excellence Award.

Starting December 11th the internationally-acclaimed, award-winning film is streaming free of charge for the holiday season.

📸 Photo of Messiah/Complex soloist Julie Lumsden in Banff, Alberta by Daniel Thomson

TORONTO—MESSIAH/COMPLEX, the acclaimed film from Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) has won the Noteworthy Project award at the inaugural OPERA America Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera.

New York-based OPERA America announced the winners of the first-ever Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera on November 7th, recognizing the best work created for digital platforms by individual producers and organizations across the U.S. and Canada, in four categories: Artistic Creation (AtG’s Sāvitri was a finalist), Education/Enrichment Material, University/Conservatory Projects, and Noteworthy Projects (MESSIAH/COMPLEX). The 2022 winners were selected from over 100 submissions and only 14 finalists.

“With the Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera, we celebrate a new vehicle for creating, distributing, and experiencing opera,” stated Marc A. Scorca, President and CEO of OPERA America. “Opera on digital platforms — a necessity during the COVID-19 pandemic — has proven to be an invaluable addition to the field, inviting new levels of innovation and service to audiences. We are pleased to be able to share these remarkable projects with the public.”

“On behalf of AtG Theatre, the artists and the creative team of MESSIAH/COMPLEX, we want to thank OPERA America for recognizing this unique film that’s so close to our hearts,” said Joel Ivany, Against the Grain Theatre’s founder and artistic director, and co-director of MESSIAH/COMPLEX. “During the early days of COVID, AtG took a big risk by pivoting to film. We were lucky to collaborate with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO) and singers across Canada, hoping to create something special for our audiences and communities stuck at home during lockdown. We’re very thankful that MESSIAH/COMPLEX earned this inaugural award from one of the world’s leading opera organizations.”

Hailed by The New York Times as “a rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah,” AtG’s critically acclaimed feature film MESSIAH/COMPLEX returns this holiday season — streaming free on-demand starting December 11, 2022, to January 8, 2023.

📸 Photo of Messiah/Complex soloist Diyet and local children in Yukon.

A made-in-Canada film that captured hearts worldwide,

MESSIAH/COMPLEX premiered online during the December 2020 COVID lockdown — a holiday season like no other — and was presented in partnership by AtG and the TSO. The independent production became an international hit and was viewed by audiences in more than forty countries, resulting in AtG receiving thousands of thankful messages from international fans.

MESSIAH/COMPLEX garnered international critical acclaim and was featured by The New York Times, BBC World Service, BBC Today Programme, France Musique, The Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Opera Wire, which called it “A Revolutionary Approach to Handel’s Masterpiece.” In Canada, it was showcased by CBC’s The National, CBC q, The Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, Xtra, Broadview, Opera Canada, Maclean’s, and, where cultural critic Paula Citron remarked that this version of Messiah “was one of the single greatest accomplishments in the annals of Canadian classical music.”

Earlier this year, the soundtrack for MESSIAH/COMPLEX was nominated for a JUNO Award in the category of Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble).

Where, When, and How to Watch

AtG’s Messiah/Complex is available to stream on-demand from December 11th, 2022, until January 8th, 2023

Ticket registration for this performance is available free of charge, or pay-what-you-can.

Registration is now available at

For more information on Identity, visit


Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) is a multi-award-winning Canadian experimental opera company dedicated to creating boundary-breaking, genre-defying vocal works and films staged in surprising locations emphasizing innovative storytelling and memorable artistic experiences. AtG is the creator of the internationally acclaimed film Messiah/Complex and the ongoing Opera Pub series.

Established in 2010 and still evolving, AtG is committed to revitalizing the operatic art form by introducing diverse audiences to outside-the-box opera experiences, creating daring re-interpretations of classical repertoire, and offering thrilling, intimate, and unforgettable experiences shared between artists and audiences.

For more information, please visit AtG online at, on Twitter and Instagram @AtGTheatre, and on Facebook at

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Media Contact

Joshua Knelman
Against the Grain Theatre

Robin Whiffen
Executive Director
Against the Grain Theatre