A rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah
Running Time: 78 Minutes
Languages: Arabic, Dene, English, French, Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone
The multi-award-winning innovative team at Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) is proud to present an encore presentation of the bold interpretation of Handel’s Messiah, created in partnership with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra (TSO).
The daring, seventy-eight-minute filmed performance of Messiah/Complex showcases multilingual translations and features a diverse cast of soloists and choirs from every Province and Territory across Canada, accompanied by the exceptional sounds of the TSO and conducted by Johannes Debus (Canadian Opera Company).
Hailed by the New York Times as “a rousing and decidedly Canadian version of Handel’s Messiah,” Against the Grain Theatre’s Messiah/Complex returns this season for audiences across the world to enjoy once again.
Available to stream on-demand from December 10th, 2023 – January 7th, 2024.
A truly cross-Canada performance — in Arabic, Dene, English, French, Inuktitut, and Southern Tutchone, and accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
AtG Founder Joel Ivany partnered with Banff Centre’s Director of Indigenous Arts, Reneltta Arluk, to Co-Direct a new interpretation of the Messiah…
…with the goal of amplifying this unique moment of pride and inclusivity in Canada—honouring and giving support to Indigenous and underrepresented voices from coast-to-coast-to-frozen-coast, and hoping to share these voices with an international audience.
Joel Ivany (AB)
Co-Director of Messiah/Complex and Founder of Against the Grain Theatre
Reneltta Arluk (NT)
Co-Director of Messiah/Complex and Director of Indigenous Arts at Banff Centre
Filmed against iconic Canadian landscapes, Messiah/Complex features twelve soloists and four choirs representing every province and territory across the country.
This “complex” interpretation of Messiah includes 6 languages, 12 soloists, 4 choirs, and is lifted by the mighty sounds of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Every aspect of this production has been made possible by the goodwill and diligence of the cast and crew involved following the most up-to-date provincial COVID-19 safety protocols.
Click on the photo of a soloist below to learn more about their Messiah/Complex story.
Messiah/Complex soloists include: Cree-Métis baritone Jonathon Adams; Inuktitut singer-songwriter Looee Arreak; British Columbia tenor Spencer Britten; Canadian-Tunisian mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb in Montreal; Edmonton-born mezzo-soprano Catherine Daniel; Inuk singer Deantha Edmunds in Newfoundland & Labrador; Dene singer-songwriter Leela Gilday in Northwest Territories; Lebanese-Canadian soprano Miriam Khalil; Saskatchewan soprano Andrea Lett; Diyet van Lieshout, who sings in Southern Tutchone, from Yukon Territory; Métis singer Julie Lumsden; and Toronto-born baritone Elliot Madore.
These diverse and singular voices represent an array of cultural traditions and heritages…
…as well as every region of our vast and interconnected country—hence the addition of “Complex” to the title of this production of the Messiah. We’re celebrating the artists’ uniqueness and comfort.
AtG—along with our partners and artists—is proud to once again offer Messiah/Complex free of charge to every soul in need of a musical lift.
Creating this national project has been a huge undertaking for us as a small arts organization, and has required a tremendous amount of resources. If you are able, please consider a donation to AtG, so that we can bring more outside-the-box operatic experiences to you, and continue to provide employment opportunities to artists and artisans nationwide.
Toronto Mendelssohn Choir (ON)
No. 44 – Hallelujah
Halifax Camerata Singers (NS)
No. 53 – Worthy is the Lamb that was Slain
Le Choeur Louisbourg (NB)
No. 12 – For Unto Us A Child is Born
UPEI Chamber Singers (PEI)
No. 7 – And He Shall Purify
Garnering over 130K views in its initial limited run…
…Messiah/Complex has been watched by audiences from more than forty countries worldwide. Against the Grain Theatre received thousands of messages from international fans, sending their gratitude for such a diverse and inspired piece of work and sharing their personal connections to Handel’s Messiah.
AtG would like to extend a special thank you to the artists, arts administrators, technicians and crew who took a chance on us, and who have inspired our team throughout this creative journey.
On behalf of AtG, our Board of Directors, and our partner Toronto Symphony Orchestra, we hope you enjoyed this unique and inspired performance of Messiah/Complex.
Carolyn & Steve Campbell
Sandra Gavinchuk & William Bowen
Cornelia Schuh & Michiel Horn
Robert Sherrin & Astrid Janson
Kris Vikmanis & Denton Creighton
Aldershot Landscape Contractors
Bank of Montreal
Validus Reinsurance, Ltd.
Diyet’s appearance is generously supported by Whitehorse Concerts
The Azrieli Foundation
Yukon Arts Centre