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THE SCOOP | Tapestry Opera Announce 2017-18 Season With A New Persian "Hip-Hopera"

By Michael Vincent on October 3, 2017

Toronto’s Tapestry Opera have released details on their 38th season, which includes two new operas by Toronto-based composers Afarin Mansouri and James Rolfe.

In keeping with Tapestry unique contemporary and local perspective, each of the new operas will seek to push the envelope while remaining grounded in traditional operatic storytelling.

The most adventurous of the two operas looks to be Forbidden, which combines Persian classical music, hip-hop, and opera. Created by Afarin Mansouri and librettist/rapper Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, it will look at the “serious aspects of repression, countered with humorous commentary on human nature’s temptations to explore the forbidden.” It premieres at the Ernest Balmer Studio on February 8-11.

The second mainstage opera is co-production of a new work by composer James Rolfe and writer/director Morris Panych, titled The Overcoat: A Musical Tailoring. Based on an adaptation of a story by Nikolai Gogo, it tells the tale of an office worker whose life is sent into a tailspin after he is mugged and his overcoat is stolen. The production marks the first opera in Canada to be premiered by two different opera companies (Tapestry Opera and Vancouver Opera) in the same season. The production runs March 29 to April 14 at Bluma Appel Theatre.

“Through music that strikes to the heart, biting satire and transcendent imagination, the season explores appearance and substance; the danger and lure of ‘the forbidden’; and bold experiments into heightened physicality, Persian classical music and hip-hop,” says Michael Mori, Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera. “This new energy that artists are bringing to opera in Toronto is inspiring a trailblazing evolution for the genre that reflects the incredible vitality and diversity of this city. This is a season of truly Canadian opera!”

Billed as “Winter Shorts”, the popular Tapestry Opera Briefs will return after a three-year hiatus. Audiences will hear four short mini-operas developed from Tapestry’s Composer-Librettist Laboratory (LIBLAB) — a program which connects composers with librettists to create new Canadian works. This year includes works by Toronto-based composers Afarin Mansouri, Iman Habibi, Kit Soden and Norbert Palej with librettists Bobby Theodore, Marcia Johnson, Phoebe Tsang and Jessica Murphy-Moo. These will take place between November 30 and December 3 at the Dancemakers Studio in the trendy Distillery District.

Tapestry’s season closes with Songbook VIII, on May 10-12 at the  Ernest Balmer Studio. Here, emerging artists with established ones combine to perform repertoire from Tapestry’s 38 years archive.

More details on Tapestry Opera’s 2017-18 season can be found at tapestryopera.com.

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Michael Vincent
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Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. As a pioneer in digital media, he has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
Follow me
Michael Vincent
Follow me

Michael Vincent

Michael Vincent is the Editor-in-chief Ludwig Van and CEO of Museland Media. He publishes regularly and writes occasionally. As a pioneer in digital media, he has worked as a senior editor for over fifteen years and is a former freelance classical music critic for the Toronto Star. Michael holds a Doctorate in Music from the University of Toronto.
Michael Vincent
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