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Ludwig Van
Toronto Montreal

THE SCOOP | Opera Atelier Announces Anniversary Season Celebrating 35 Years

By Michael Vincent on January 30, 2020

Opera Atelier Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)
Opera Atelier Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)

Has it been 35 years already? Time flies when you’re having fun.

Opera Atelier (OA) announced its 35th anniversary season on Monday at an event held at Toronto’s St. Lawrence Hall.

OA will open with a production of Mozart’s Magic Flute on October 22–November 1, 2020, at the Elgin Theatre. The production will be sung in English (Andrew Porter translation).

“The Magic Flute was a seminal production for Opera Atelier, a dramatic turning point when it premiered in 1991,” said OA Co-Artistic Director Marshall Pynkoski in a press release statement “As part of our 35th Anniversary restaging, the production has been extensively refurbished — including new costumes for all of the principal artists, designed by award-winning Canadian costume designer Michael Gianfrancesco — and a new flying machine for the Queen of the Night.”

Mayor John Tory with OA Co-Artistic Directors Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg and Marshall Pynkoski (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)
Mayor John Tory with OA Co-Artistic Directors Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg and Marshall Pynkoski (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)

The cast includes tenor Colin Ainsworth as Tamino, Soprano Mireille Asselin as Pamina, Bass-baritone Douglas Williams as Papageno, Bass Gustav Andreassen as Sarastro, and Soprano Holly Flack as the Queen of the Night. Set design is by Gerard Gauci, and lighting design by Michelle Ramsay.

On February 20–27, 2021, OA return with a double bill of The Angel Speaks with Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas.

Backed by Toronto Children’s Chorus, Dido will be sung by Meghan Lindsay, Christopher Enns will play Aeneas, Mireille Asselin sings Belinda, Allyson McHardy plays the Sorceress, and Colin Ainsworth is cast as the Sailor.

“It seems only fitting that Dido and Aeneas be included in our 35th Anniversary,” says Pynkoski. “It was the first fully-staged opera undertaken by Opera Atelier — 35 years ago in the lecture hall of the Royal Ontario Museum.”

The Angel Speaks will include excerpts from their commission, by Toronto’s intrepid violinist Edwin Huizinga. Originally premiered in 2017 at The Royal Chapel of Versailles, the work was also toured to Chicago last year.

Artists of Atelier Ballet Kevin Law and Juri Hiraoka (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)
Artists of Atelier Ballet Kevin Law and Juri Hiraoka (Image courtesy of Opera Atelier)

Both productions will feature the full force of Atelier Ballet with choreography by Jeannette Lajeunesse Zingg, and stage direction by Pynkoski C.M., with the music performed by Tafelmusik and music direction by early music mastermind David Fallis.

Since their inception in 1985, Opera Atelier has become one of the only players in town to master period style productions of early opera, as well as classical period 19th-century works, such as Mozart’s Don Giovanni, which has been produced five times by OA since 1996.

The niche approach is being noticed. Opera Atelier’s Co-Artistic Directors Pynkoski and Lajeunesse Zingg have been named Officers of the Order of Arts and Letters (l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres) by the Government of France. They will both be honoured in a ceremony on December 2021 at the Palace of Versailles.

“We are deeply honoured to be recognized in this way by the country whose culture we most admire,” says Co-Artistic Director Lajeunesse Zingg.

Season subscriptions on sale January 28 at operaatelier.com/subscribe. Single tickets available summer of 2020.

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Michael Vincent
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Ludwig Van Toronto

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