“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
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 culmination of this collaboration will premiere in 2022 as a filmed presentation, with the intention to expand to a live-show production.
“Maybe the individual who listens to this piece is searching for something – just as we all are.”
Dinuk Wijeratne, Composer
Video edited by Dylan Toombs.
“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)
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.
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 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.
The Canada Council for the Arts
Ontario Arts Council
Arts Nova Scotia
Toronto Arts Council
TD Ready Commitment
The Azrieli Foundation