FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Oct. 2, 2015 Against the Grain Theatre remounts its popular, staged Messiah this December
TORONTO — After debuting its groundbreaking take on Handel’s Messiah in 2013 to surprised audiences and resounding critical acclaim, Against the Grain Theatre is heeding popular demand and bringing back the production this holiday season. In partnership with the The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall, the bold young company remounts AtG’s Messiah for four performances at Harbourfront Centre Theatre from Dec. 16 to 19, 2015. Tickets are now on sale at masseyhall.com.
AtG’s Messiah premiered during high season for the perennial favourite in Toronto two years ago. Amid the many versions available throughout the city, it sold out its entire run and became the talk of the holiday dinner table. According to the Globe and Mail at the time, “the most exciting Messiah over the past week or so may well have been that of the small, experimental musical/theatre company Against the Grain Theatre.”
The score remains intact, but forget about the usual gowns and leather-bound choral folders. AtG artistic director Joel Ivany reunites with choreographer Jennifer Nichols to give the piece new form and movement, building on the expressive and captivating choreography that wowed audiences at its premiere. Once again AtG music director Topher Mokrzewski is at the musical helm, conducting an 18-piece orchestra and 16-member chorus. AtG resident lighting designer Jason Hand creates a dramatic and evocative setting.
An all-star lineup of fearless soloists includes soprano Miriam Khalil, mezzo-soprano Andrea Ludwig, tenor Owen McCausland and bass-baritone Stephen Hegedus.
“We pushed some boundaries when we debuted this production two years ago, and I’m so glad we did,” says Ivany. “The response from our audiences and the musical community has been amazing. It proves that you can create such a moving experience simply by looking at something familiar in a different, imaginative way. Our whole company is excited and proud to partner with The Corporation of Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall to bring one of our favourite productions back to the stage.”
“Against the Grain Theatre has proven itself as Toronto’s go-to company for fresh and innovative thinking,” says Chris Lorway, director of programming for Roy Thomson Hall and Massey Hall. “Its truly unique production of the Messiah adds a new dimension to the excellent line-up available to concert-goers this December–from the TSO’s breathtaking presentation to Tafelmusic’s beloved version–demonstrating the very healthy musical ecosystem alive in Toronto.”
Performances take place at Harbourfront Centre Theatre on Dec. 16, 17 and 18 at 8 p.m. and Dec. 19 at 2 p.m. Tickets start at $25 and are available at masseyhall.com.
In December of 2010, Toronto’s opera scene received a jolt of energy with the formation of Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), a visionary young start-up founded by a small group of friends who worked in the “biz.” Inspired by a goal of reinvigorating the art form by presenting classical repertoire in unconventional spaces and innovative ways, AtG staged its first performance to a sold-out audience of 50 people, and with that the company was off and running. Since that first season, AtG has packed every single one of its productions with standing room-only crowds, winning a consistent level of critical acclaim that has even surprised its own members. Maclean’s has referred to AtG as “the most successful of the indies,” and the Calgary Herald called it “one of the most important opera companies in Canada.” AtG’s 2013 production of Figaro’s Wedding received seven Dora Mavor Moore Award nominations, winning the award for Best New Musical/Opera. Its 2014 production of #UncleJohn also garnered several nominations. The arts community has embraced the AtG, as has a much wider, more diverse audience of people who may have never considered attending an opera. For more information, please visit www.atgtheatre.com.
ABOUT THE CORPORATION OF MASSEY HALL AND ROY THOMSON HALL
The Corporation of Massey Hall and Roy Thomson Hall is a not-for-profit charitable organization operating two of Canada’s premier concert halls. Showcasing the world’s greatest performers in all disciplines, the two halls are also prominent venues for diverse activities in the business and entertainment district of downtown Toronto. Managed by a professional management team with a volunteer Board of Governors, the Corporation’s mission is to provide a world- renowned environment to showcase international artists and entertainment; to provide public space for the cultural and corporate communities of the Greater Toronto Area; to support the development of Canadian talent; to increase and enhance its worldwide profile as a leader in the arts community through its professionalism and programming.
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Caitlin Coull, Communications Director
Against the Grain Theatre
Meghan McCready, Media Relations and Promotions Associate