In partnership with the Canadian Opera Company
Director Joel Ivany | Conductor Johannes Debus | Director of Photography Taylor Long
Associate Director Andrew Adridge | Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst
Assistant Conductor Derek Bate | Lighting Designer Daniele Guevara | Stage Manager Stephanie Marrs
Featuring Midori Marsh, soprano | Marion Newman, mezzo-soprano | Andrew Haji, tenor | Vartan Gabrielian, bass-baritone
This contemporary, filmed production of Requiem is being offered free to audiences here in Canada and around the world, and is conceived by Joel Ivany (artistic director, AtG) and Johannes Debus (conductor and music director, COC).
Requiem is our way of honouring those who have been lost throughout the pandemic, as well as paying tribute to the sense of hope, resilience and communal purpose we have discovered and continue to share with each other during this challenging era.
Against the Grain Theatre is proud to partner with the Canadian Opera Company for this multidisciplinary filmed production of Mozart’s powerful, enduring piece— a requiem’s melody is meant to ease the path of departed souls to a restful place… guiding those souls to a state of repose.
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“This performance is meant to be a sonic journey from those dark, isolating days of deep COVID to a more hopeful and brighter future.”
Photos by Taylor Long
Requiem was conceived by Joel Ivany (artistic director, AtG) and Johannes Debus (conductor and music director, COC) after many zooms calls as they stayed connected during a very difficult time, and which led to this first collaboration between these two opera companies. This also marks the first time that the COC chorus and COC orchestra have played together at the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts since the pandemic began. Because it’s meant to honour the challenges of this era, the creative team is proud that this contemporary, filmed performance is being offered free to audiences here in Canada and around the world.
“The ability to bring newness and societal relevance to a piece as timeless as Mozart’s Requiem carries deep meaning for me. I believe so passionately that art needs to reflect the society that it serves and that is exactly what we are trying to accomplish, a Requiem for our times that everyone can contextualize through their own experience.”
CAST OF REQUIEM
Requiem is a showcase of the next generation of voices in opera, and the incredible and diverse cast includes members of the COC Studio Ensemble—bass-baritone Vartan Gabrielian and soprano Midori Marsh—as well as tenor Andrew Haji, and Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations mezzo-soprano Marion Newman. Each of the featured singers has navigated their own journey— as artists and citizens during COVID— and to learn more about their stories, we will be releasing interviews with them in the coming weeks.
“As an individual, I couldn’t perform the Requiem, but with the incredible team behind the scenes and onstage, all working toward a common goal we can make it happen as a community…. We need each other in a project like this and after spending so much time apart during this pandemic, being reminded of the beauty and necessity of being together… I hope that appreciation for each other lasts long beyond this time.”
Requiem in Context
Viewers will notice the beach and water imagery used in the film—the sands of time.
The Scarborough Bluffs are an escarpment in east Toronto running along Lake Ontario. Made of sand and sediment, these pale shores were once the border of an ancient glacial lake—Lake Iroquois— formed tens of thousands of years ago. Over time, “The Bluffs” have transformed into an easy-to-access view of Toronto’s waterfront, and a way to escape the city and get a little closer to nature. During COVID, so many of us found solace in little escapes from our urban environs, to connect with nature— a stroll through a park, a ravine hike, a trip to the beach to watch the waves roll in.
A Mysterious Masterpiece—the enigmatic origins of Requiem
Mozart is known for mastering so many forms of classical composition, but if you’re familiar with our work here at Against the Grain Theatre, you know that we love Mozart for his operas and vocal music. Requiem is a masterpiece for its emotionally stirring music— and as well, for the mystery surrounding its creation. It was a team effort in fact: Mozart died before finishing it, and composer Franz Süssmayr completed the work in early 1792. In a way, it has become a requiem for Mozart— featuring a full choir, orchestra, and a quartet of soloists, all of whom take the listener through a powerful journey of loss and light.
Photo by Renee Fajardo
“Mozart’s Requiem speaks for itself, but by putting it together in a way like this, I think it opens it up to people who wouldn’t necessarily attend an oratorio performance. I hope the way it’s presented will help those who are still processing a loss, and will give people hope that the worst of this pandemic is behind us, and that we’ll all get through it together.”
Finding Light in this Challenging Era
AtG’s hope is that this timely rendition of Requiem can help provide our audiences and music lovers with a chance to reflect on what we’ve experienced in these trying times, honour those have been impacted by this global pandemic, as well as to help us look ahead with a sense of renewed strength and optimism.
Photo by Renee Fajardo
“This project means something to me that I can’t completely describe with my words. I have lost many dear family and friends to Covid… I dedicate this requiem to them and to many others who have lost dear ones during this time.”
Support the Show
AtG—along with our partners at the Canadian Opera Company—is proud to offer Requiem free of charge to every soul in need of a musical journey.
As a small arts organization, creating a project such as Requiem requires resources, along with a dedicated team of artists and arts administrators. 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.
Thank you so much to our AtG family and audience for your support. We hope you enjoy this production, please register here for your free Requiem ticket.