Identity: a Song Cycle (film)

Exploring one’s journey to embrace multiple and shifting identities.

Composer: Dinuk Wijeratne

Librettist: Shauntay Grant

Cast: Elliot Madore, Baritone

Language: English [English subtitles]

Running Time: 45 Minutes

An artistic exploration of Self

In early June 2020, Torontonian and baritone Elliot Madore opened up on social media about his struggles with “unabashedly expressing [his] identity” as a biracial person.

AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and Elliot Madore came together to find a way to present to the Canadian arts community the universal themes behind Madore’s moving Instagram post. In collaboration with genre-bending composer Dinuk Wijeratne and acclaimed poet Shauntay Grant, AtG and Madore will present a song cycle that sets new and original Canadian poetry to music that fuses classical music with an array of influences.

The film will present the song cycle in its current state of development: showcasing five newly composed songs woven together with stories from Elliot’s life.

AtG TV

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Premieres: Sunday, October 23rd at 8 PM ET

Streaming: October 23rd – April 23rd

Tickets: Free or Pay-What-You-Can

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“Through my personal story and my strife with identity, I’ve come to realize that this is a common theme throughout society that hasn’t been fully explored: our collective and individual struggle with who we are, our identity.”

— Elliot Madore, Baritone

Cast & Creative Team

Dinuk Wijeratne

Composer/Pianist

Sri Lankan-born Canadian Dinuk Wijeratne is a JUNO and multi-award-winning composer, pianist, and conductor who has been described by the Toronto Star as ‘an artist who reflects a positive vision of our cultural future’, and by the New York Times as ‘exuberantly creative’. His boundary-crossing work sees him equally at home in collaborations with symphony orchestras and string quartets, tabla players and DJs, and takes him to international venues as poles apart as the Berlin Philharmonie and the North Sea Jazz Festival. Dinuk was featured as a main character in 'What would Beethoven do?' - the documentary about innovation in classical music featuring Eric Whitacre, Bobby McFerrin and Ben Zander. Dinuk's music has been performed by virtually every Canadian orchestra, and he has also performed at Carnegie Hall, the Kennedy Center (Washington DC), Opera Bastille (Paris), Lincoln Center (New York), Teatro Colón (Buenos Aires), in Sri Lanka, Japan, and across the Middle East. Forthcoming collaborations include works and premieres for the Banff International String Quartet Competition, Grammy-nominated mandolinist Avi Avital, and Boston's 'A Far Cry' orchestra. Dinuk's music and collaborative work embrace the great diversity of his international background and influences.
Shauntay Grant

Librettist

Shauntay Grant is a writer and storyteller from K'jipuktuk (Halifax, Nova Scotia). She is an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Dalhousie University, a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada, and as Halifax's third poet laureate she organized Canada's first national gathering of Canadian poets laureate. Shauntay's poetry has been anthologized and published in literary journals like Contemporary Verse 2: The Canadian Journal of Poetry and Critical Writing, and featured internationally in performance at events like the Vancouver Writers Fest, the Jamaica Poetry Festival, Australia's National Young Writers Festival, and the South-North Griots Summit. Her stage play The Bridge—published in 2021 by Playwrights Canada Press—premiered at Neptune Theatre and won a 2020 Robert Merritt Award for Outstanding New Play, and her monodrama Beyere was commissioned by Obsidian Theatre for its 21 Black Futures project which aired on CBC Gem in 2021. An award-winning author of children's literature, Shauntay's picture book Africville with illustrator Eva Campbell won the 2019 Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Awards. Her other honours include a Best Atlantic-Published Book prize from the Atlantic Book Awards, a Poet of Honour prize from Spoken Word Canada, and a Joseph S. Stauffer Prize from the Canada Council for the Arts.
Elliot Madore

Baritone

Grammy® Award-winning Canadian baritone, Elliot Madore has established himself as one of the most sought after, accomplished singers of his generation, enthralling audiences around the world with his “robust singing and take-no-prisoners acting” (The New York Times), “exquisite vocal beauty” (Opera News) and “movie star good looks” (Merkur). At just 33, Madore’s career spans the past decade, singing in major opera companies and orchestras throughout Europe, The United States and Canada.
The 2020 – 2021 season sees Madore’s return to The Metropolitan Opera to sing Mercutio in the Bartlett Sher production of Roméo et Juliette. The Canadian baritone also sings the role of Franz Wolff-Metternich in the world premiere of La beauté du monde at Opéra de Montréal, and returns to both Opernhaus Zürich and Manitoba Opera to sing Anthony Hope in Sweeney Todd. Orchestral engagements include his debut with the London Symphony Orchestra singing Carmina Burana, conducted by Gianandrea Noseda, and Ramón in Girls of the Golden West with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by John Adams. Madore also appears in recital at Koerner Hall at the Royal Conservatory of Music in Toronto.

Elliot's Website

Joel Ivany

Director

Joel Ivany is the Founder and Artistic Director of AtG, is the artistic director of Opera at Banff Centre and was recently appointed Artistic Director at Edmonton Opera. His directing credits include productions of Verdi’s Macbeth (Minnesota Opera), Carmen (Vancouver Opera), Les Contes d’Hoffmann (Edmonton Opera), Gavin Bryars’ Marilyn Forever (Adelaide Festival) and Le nozze di Figaro (revival at Norwegian National Opera). He is the author of seven (and counting) original librettos for companies such as the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Canadian Opera Company. He is a multiple Dora Mavor Moore Award nominee for Outstanding Direction as well as for Outstanding New Opera/Musical, winning one for Figaro’s Wedding. Recent mainstage directing credits include Dead Man Walking at Minnesota Opera and the multiple award-winning production of Gluck’s Orphée⁺ with Opera Columbus, AtG and Banff Centre. He has directed productions for the Canadian Opera Company (Hänsel und Gretel, Carmen), Toronto Symphony Orchestra (Mozart’s Requiem, Kurt Weill’s The Seven Deadly Sins), the Canadian Children’s Opera Company (Brundibár), Vancouver Opera (Carmen, Dead Man Walking), and Claude Vivier’s Kopernikus (AtG and Banff Centre). Recent highlights include Messiah/Complex (AtG) and directing the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards. He is a proud graduate of the Opera School at U of T and is a member of the Alumni Wall of Fame at his alma mater, Western University.
Andrew Adridge

Associate Director

Andrew Adridge (he/him) is a multidisciplinary artist and opera producer based in Toronto with a passion for equity and industry reform. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto holding both a Bachelor of Music Performance in Voice and a Master of Music in Opera. He has been featured as an ensemble soloist both at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts in Toronto and the Kennedy Centre in Washington, D.C. Andrew has participated in several young artist programs including The Chautauqua Institution Voice Program, and the Banff Opera program. Andrew is an avid writer having contributed to both Opera Canada and Ludwig Van Toronto and continues his pursuits through his personal blog and through spoken word bringing to light issues around artistry, identity, and race.
Andrew has worked as an arts administrator with such organizations as the Association for Opera in Canada and Tapestry Opera and has recently made his directorial debut with the Canadian Opera Company and Against the Grain Theatre as the Associate Director on Mozart’s Requiem. Most recently he directed the Edmonton Opera Valentine’s Day Gala which premiered on Global TV in February of 2022. Andrew currently works as the Artistic Producer for the Banff Centre Opera in the 21st Century program and is the Co-Founder of the national arts education collective Opera InReach. Andrew’s recognizable commitment to EDIJA advancement in the arts sector has made him sought after as a panellist, consultant, and outlet contributor.
This season, Andrew will assistant direct Identity: A Song Cycle with Against the Grain Theatre and Carmen with the Canadian Opera Company. Andrew is very excited to continue his journey as an opera producer through this opportunity provided by the Metcalf Foundation allowing him to work in Artistic Operations with Against the Grain Theatre.
Ming Wong

Costume Designer

Ming is a Toronto costume designer, stylist, and wardrobe technician. She has worked on a variety of projects ranging from dance & theatre to film & television. She has designed across the city and beyond for companies such as the Canadian Opera Company, Citadel Theatre, Canadian Stage, Crow’s Theatre, Nightwood Theatre, Factory Theatre, Obsidian Theatre, and Modern Times Stage Company.

She is a 5 time Dora Mavor Moore nominee as well as a 4 time nominee for the Virginia & Myrtle Cooper Travel Award in Costume Design.

Production & Design

Cinematography

Sound Designer

Percussion

Bass

Riddle Films

Ben Ewing

Nick Halley

Taylor Emond

Cinematography — Riddle Films

Sound Designer — Ben Ewing

Percussion — Nick Halley

Bass — Taylor Emond

“Maybe the individual who listens to this piece is searching for something – just as we all are.”

— Dinuk Wijeratne, Composer

Media

Identity excerpt ” No. 3 Synthetic Leaves”

Identity in Conversation with Elliot, Dinuk, and Joel

“Father’s face on faded picture – unfamiliar ancestry.
Eyes I know and don’t remember.
Is this who I’m s’posed to be?”

— (Excerpt from Identity: a Song Cycle, written by Shauntay Grant)

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We’re delighted to present Identity, free-of-charge

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