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Volume 23 Issue 6 - March 2018

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In this issue: Canadian Stage, Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera collaborate to take Gogol’s short story The Overcoat to the operatic stage; Montreal-based Sam Shalabi brings his ensemble Land of Kush, and his newest composition, to Toronto; Five Canadian composers, each with a different CBC connection, are nominated for JUNOs; and The WholeNote team presents its annual Summer Music Education Directory, a directory of summer music camps, programs and courses across the province and beyond.

throughout). The show is

throughout). The show is sung through without spoken dialogue, but written so that the story and ideas can be clearly shared and communicated, and with a great sense of energy and pace. As Rolfe says, the score is also written with an awareness that the production will still have a very strong physicality. “The music is a twisted circus,” Panych says. “It’s acrobatic, you feel its tunefulness, you feel the beat of it but you don’t recognize it, similar to Prokofiev but in a much more modern way; it pushes forward in unexpected and exciting ways.” There will also be a 12-piece orchestra, a luxury for a new opera production, led by music director Leslie Dala. Panych is very clear that people should not come to this new Overcoat expecting to see the old version. The famous big set pieces created for the wordless choreographed world of the original, such as the ballroom scene or tailor shop with “semi-naked men in the shop creating the coat,” will not be there. With the smaller cast and the emphasis on the singing, the words, the ideas and the production will be much more intimate. Although the original design team of Ken Macdonald, Nancy Bryant and Alan Brodie will be creating a similarly designed world on a smaller scale, the action will be purposefully much more “downstage, closer to the audience.” At the same time, there is still a desire to retain some of the signature theatrical physicality of the original and Wendy Gorling will be joining the company at the start of rehearsals as movement director; two members of the original wordless Overcoat will also be there to anchor that physical style. Most of the singers in the cast have been with the show through the development process of the workshops, cast primarily for their singing and acting ability, but also with an eye to their ability to move and take part in more experimental production styles. Peter McGillivray and Keith Klassen, in particular, being longterm performers with Tapestry and in new opera around the country, are known for their expertise in interpreting new work. Joining the cast in the most recent workshop as the leading character Akaky was Geoffrey Sirett, a young Canadian baritone with a quickly growing reputation not only for the richness of his baritone voice but for his fearless physicality in more experimental productions, with Against the Grain Theatre, for example, where he shone in their staged Messiah. Cast in the workshop on the advice of Mori, Sirett proved adept at the physicality explored during that process, impressing the director and staying on to lead the company as work on the full production began. While he didn’t have physical training as part of his opera studies, Sirett credits his early experience working with choreographers James Kudelka, Lawrence Lemieux and Bill Coleman on dance/opera crossover works at Citadel + Compagnie as providing him early on with “the opportunity to explore contemporary movement and get in touch with my physical self.” James Rolfe (left) and Morris Panych As this issue goes to print, The Overcoat company will be in rehearsal and the process will have begun of discovering exactly what the eventual production will look like, how physical it will be and what new nuances might arise. The template is there but the final journey of discovery is just beginning. Hearing the show described as almost more of a “musical than an opera” by its librettist and director because of its clarity, energy and pace, it sounds as though The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring is living right on that edge of new opera and music theatre creation, reaching to find the best medium to tell stories that matter and connect with audiences of today. Opening night is March 29, with two previews on March 27 and 28 and performances until April 14. The show then travels out west, where it will play at the Vancouver Opera Festival April 28 to May 12. Toronto-based “lifelong theatre person” Jennifer (Jenny) Parr works as a director, fight director, stage manager and coach, and is equally crazy about movies and musicals. NATHAN KELLY CHARPENTIER ACTÉON & RAMEAU PYGMALION OCT 25 – NOV 3, 2018 ELGIN THEATRE, 189 YONGE ST 18.19 BRINGING ART TO LIFE MOZART IDOMENEO APRIL 4 — 13, 2019 ELGIN THEATRE, 189 YONGE ST “Flawless… Opera Atelier has scored one of its greatest triumphs.” —TORONTO STAR SUBSCRIBE FOR AS LITTLE AS — OPERAATELIER.COM OR 416-703-3767 X222 CANADIAN SUPERSTAR MEASHA BRUEGGERGOSMAN AS ELETTRA Season Presenting Sponsor Season Underwriter Photo by Bruce Zinger 10 | March 2018

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