Montréalais composer Claude Vivier (1948–1983) lived a hard and fast life. Before he was found murdered in his hotel room in Paris at the age of 35, he had spent a career rejecting many traditional ideas of life, music and opera, which culminated in writing his only opera Kopernikus. Subtitled “a ritual opera for the dead”, this opera has gone on to become one of Canada’s most performed operas… outside of Canada.

The (prophetic) premise? A woman has died and she arrives to the afterlife scared, lost and looking for meaning. Kopernikus is sung in French, German and in an imaginary language of Vivierʼs own invention. “There is no story.”—Claude Vivier


Kopernikus has been nominated for 7 Dora Mavor Moore Awards!:

‪Outstanding Production: AtG’s Kopernikus‬
Outstanding Direction: Joel Ivany & Matjash Mrozewski
Outstanding Musical Direction: Topher Mokrzewski
Outstanding Scenic/Projection Design: Jason Hand
‪Outstanding Lighting Design: Jason Hand
‪Outstanding Costume Design: Marissa Kochanski

Outstanding Performance of an ‪Ensemble: The Ensemble of AtG’s Kopernikus


Toronto Press (2019)

Kopernikus: an immersive, disorienting and thought-provoking experience in Toronto | bachtrack
“Taken as a whole, it’s 75 minutes of immersive and mesmerizing music theatre. Vivier, arguably Canada’s greatest composer, gets a worthy production of one his most important works.”

This week in Toronto: A look at ‘Canada’s most famous unknown opera’ | Toronto Star
“One of Canada’s leading opera companies, Against the Grain Theatre, brings Canada’s most-performed opera, still mostly unknown here, to Toronto after its premiere at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in 2017.”

Kopernikus: A Ritual Opera For The Dead is unlike anything you’ll see at the theatre | NOW Magazine
“Director Joel Ivany and set/lighting designer Jason Hand transform Theatre Passe Muraille into a suitably subterranean space, with musicians, singers and a couple of dancers occupying various levels. While there’s no discernible narrative, the sounds and images create an absorbing, immersive experience, unlike anything you’ll see at the opera house – or, indeed, at much theatre.”

CRITIC’S PICKS | 11 Concerts You Absolutely Need To See In Toronto This Week (April 1 – 7) | Ludwig van Toronto
“French Canadian composer Claude Vivier’s only opera, Kopernikus, with Danielle MacMillan, mezzo; Krisztina Szabó, mezzo; Alain Coulombe, bass; Dion Mazerolle, baritone; and Nathalie Paulin, soprano.”

Fourteen must-see operas across Canada this spring, from the traditional to the avant-garde | The Globe & Mail
“Vivier’s personal mythology adds to the mystery found in the pages of his only opera, which is subtitled Rituel de la mort (“Ritual for the Dead”). AtG artistic director Joel Ivany is one of today’s most passionate Vivier fans, and the only way to sell an audience on something such as Kopernikus is to do so with gusto.”


Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus a Hopeful Homecoming | Wholenote Magazine
“[With] the stellar team that surrounds the production, does indeed give much to hope for: hope that Kopernikus receives the recognition it deserves and hope for a leading opera collective to guide us in towards a new era of (re)discovering our own Canadian works.”

Banff Press (2017)

Review: Vivier’s Kopernikus at Banff Centre the ideal opera of the future | National Post
“An astounding revelation of an older work made new again and constituted a full step into a new directional maturity for the Ivany/Mokrzewski creative team. ”

Kopernikus Heralds Opera In The 21st Century | Ludwig van Toronto
“Kopernikus is astonishing… give the damn thing a national tour.”

Review: Kopernikus | Opera Going Toronto
“Ivany and Mokrzewski have created something exceptional, uniquely gripping, generously inclusive. A transformative production. Limitless. Heartening. Utterly extraordinary.”

Vivier’s Kopernikus in rehearsal at Banff
“It might be the edgiest thing AtG have ever done.”

Preview: Centering Kopernikus | Opera Going Toronto


All photography by Darryl Block Lee. For hi-res imagery, click here to download.

Creative Team

Joel Ivany

Stage Director

Topher Mokrzewski

Music Director

Jason Hand

Set & Lighting Designer

Matjash Mrozewski


Lesley Abarquez Bradley

Stage Manager

Leela Gilday


Marissa Kochanski

Costume Designer

Tina Fushell

Remount Choreographer

Oz Weaver

Production Manager

Madison Angus

Assistant Stage Manager

Cast & Ensemble

Danielle MacMillan

Agni, Mezzo-Soprano

Jonelle Sills


Anne-Marie MacIntosh


Krisztina Szabó


Bruno Roy


Dion Mazerolle


Alain Coulombe


Anisa Tejpar


William Yong


Brenna Hardy-Kavanagh


Carly Gordon


Brad Cherwin


Marc Blouin


Peter Stoll

Clarinet & Bass Clarinet

Michael Fedyshyn


Paul Tarussov



Thursday, April 4  8pm
Friday, April 5  8pm
Saturday, April 6  8pm

Thursday, April 11  8pm
Friday, April 12  8pm
Saturday, April 13   8pm

Doors open at 7:30pm. Kopernikus begins at 8pm, and is approximately 75 minutes (no intermission). Please allow yourself time to prepare your spiritual and physical well-being for this journey…


Tickets No Longer On Sale

General Admission and Under 25 seats are chosen upon arrival to the theatre on a first-come, first-served basis. VIP tickets ensure you and your party reserved seats in the VIP section.

Prices exclude processing fee ($2.50) and applicable taxes.

Rush Tickets are available for purchase in-person from the Theatre Passe Muraille Box Office, beginning at 3pm (Thursdays & Fridays) and 12pm (Saturdays). Rush prices vary per seat ($25 to $55).


Theatre Passe Muraille Mainstage
16 Ryerson Ave, Toronto, Ontario  M5T 2P3
Entrance on Ryerson Street (west side of building)
Box Office: 416-504-7529