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Produced by Against the Grain Theatre
In Partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra

Celebrating Voices from Every Province and Territory in Canada

TORONTO—Back by popular demand, Messiah/Complex returns for an encore presentation starting April 1st on AtG TV. This Easter, the globally-lauded and distinctly Canadian reimagining of Handel’s Messiah, accompanied by and in partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO), becomes available for free on-demand viewing from April 1-April 13, 2021.

Messiah, in fact, had its premiere in Dublin on April 13, 1742. While many fans across the world enjoy Messiah as a Christmas tradition, Handel originally wrote this piece with Easter in mind—celebrating universal themes of life, rebirth and spring.

“A rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah.”
The New York Times

Photo of soloist Looee Arreak (NU) by Mark Aspland, Aksut Media.

Messiah/Complex received rave reviews and was embraced by audiences across Canada and around the world. “A Canadian opera company has interpreted the Messiah online as a way of celebrating diversity,” reported BBC World Service, while The New York Times proclaimed this production as a “Messiah for the Multitudes, Freed From History’s Bonds.” The Los Angeles Times stated: “This deserves to become a holiday classic,” and Opera Wire, a leading international platform for opera, hailed the performance as “A Revolutionary Approach to Handel’s Masterpiece.”

“A joyful screen adaption of Handel’s holiday staple…Messiah/Complex unveils a moving mosaic.”
The Globe and Mail

Messiah/Complex is co-directed by Joel Ivany, the Founding Artistic Director of AtG, and Reneltta Arluk, Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The innovative, seventy-minute filmed performance features a diverse cast of twelve soloists and four choirs representing every province and territory across Canada, accompanied by the exceptional musicians of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra and conducted by Johannes Debus (Canadian Opera Company).

“…a frank meeting between ancient art and the tough questions it raises in today’s world.”
Maclean’s Magazine

Photo of soloist Julie Lumsden (MB) by Daniel Thomson.

Against the Grain Theatre’s daring film interpretation includes translations and interpretations of Messiah’s standard English text, with artists performing in Dene, Inuktitut, Southern Tutchone, Arabic and French

“Our work reimagines this standard oratorio by illuminating the diversity of artists across what we now call Canada,” says Deantha Edmunds, a Messiah/Complex featured soloist from Newfoundland and Labrador. ”It is a joy to sing one of my favourite Handel arias in Inuttitut, as translated by a respected Elder and teacher in Nunatsiavut.” 

Photo of soloist Deantha Edmunds (NL) by Justin Oakey.

Messiah/Complex features an array of incredible Canadian voices, including  Jonathon Adams (AB), Looee Arreak (NU), Spencer Britten (BC), Rihab Chaieb (QC), Catherine Daniel (AB), Deantha Edmunds (NL), Leela Gilday (NT), Miriam Khalil (ON), Andrea Lett (SK), Diyet van Lieshout (YT), Julie Lumsden (MB) and Elliot Madore (ON); featured choirs include Le Choeur Louisbourg (NB), the Halifax Camerata Singers (NS), the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (ON), and the University of Prince Edward Island Chamber Chorus (PEI).

“Occupy Handel”
Xtra magazine

Please join Against the Grain Theatre for this special encore presentation of Messiah/Complex April 1st-April 13th, 2021.

Ticket registration for this performance is available free of charge.

When, Where and How to Watch
AtG’s Messiah/Complex in partnership with the TSO will be available on-demand from April 1-13, 2021.

Tickets available now at

“Reimagines the holiday classic like you’ve never heard it before.”

Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) is an award-winning Canadian opera company committed to revitalizing the operatic art form by presenting an eclectic array of musical works in unconventional spaces and innovative ways. With a mandate to create and introduce audiences to outside-the-box opera experiences, AtG performs fresh, daring re-interpretations of classical repertoire to create thrilling, intimate, 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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Joshua Knelman
Against the Grain Theatre

Robin Whiffen
Executive Director
Against the Grain Theatre

Claudine Domingue
Director, Communications and Media Relations
Toronto Symphony Orchestra