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Must Watch: An Operatic Video About Toronto's Subway System

By Anya Wassenberg on May 29, 2023

Opera Revue, TTC
Opera Revue’s Toronto Transit Comedy (Still from the video, courtesy of Opera Revue)

There is nothing that Torontonians love quite so much as complaining about the TTC, or Toronto Transit Commission. The Opera Rebels, or Opera Revue, include soprano Danie Friesen, baritone Alexander Hajek and pianist Claire Elise Harris, and they definitely have opinions on the subject they want to share in advance of the coming municipal election.

Hitting the high notes

With more than 100 candidates vying for Toronto’s top job, the 2023 mayoral election is already shaping up to be one for the books. In their hands, the TTC becomes the Toronto Transit Comedy, and a message delivered with operatic flair.

What makes it so great: The Toronto Transit Comedy by Opera Revue is set to the opening duet from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro. New lyrics were written by Alexander Hajek, and taped in a performance by Hajek, Danie Friesen and Claire Elise Harris on location. Friesen also acted as video editor, with Michael McKenzie as sound engineer.

Opera Revue is establishing a reputation for bringing opera into what might be called non-traditional settings, including opera + burlesque shows, and performances at breweries and distilleries in the area. Bringing opera to the people means making it relevant.

Certainly, if there is any municipal story worthy of an operatic treatment, it is the ongoing saga of the TTC and its woes.

What they’re saying: “Opera and social commentary have gone hand in hand since the art forms inception. Open rebellion against the ruling class or foreign invaders could get you killed when these pieces were written (Viva Verdi), but not when you put some of the most glorious Western music ever written beneath some witty rhymes, now it’s just a “mythical cautionary tale”,” notes Alexander Hajek in a statement.

If you’re in Toronto, Opera Revue has performances coming up in May and June. More info here.

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