Against the Grain Theatre (AtG) has collaborated with the Canadian Opera Company (COC) to present a timely film that reinterprets Mozart’s enduring classic. Requiem reflects a musical passage out of the darkest days of the global pandemic towards hope and a brighter tomorrow. The piece was conceived by AtG Artistic Director Joel Ivany and COC Conductor & Musical Director Johannes Debus.
“As a small opera company, we wanted to find an appropriate way to mark this challenging era,” said AtG’s Joel Ivany, director of Requiem. “We’re thankful that the Canadian Opera Company partnered for this special project, and we hope that this performance honours those impacted by COVID, and pays tribute to the courage and strength that we’ve seen on display in our communities.”
The piece features some of Canada’s leading operatic voices, including members of the COC Studio Ensemble — bass-baritone Vartan Gabrielian and soprano Midori Marsh — alongside tenor Andrew Haji, and Kwagiulth and Stó:lo First Nations mezzo-soprano Marion Newman. The film incorporates each artist’s personal journeys during COVID, including their stories of loss and resilience.
“We need each other in a project like this,” said Marion Newman in a statement. “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.”
AtG’s team hopes that the film will serve as a chance to reflect on the trying times we’ve experienced, honour those whom the global pandemic has impacted, and help us look ahead with a sense of renewed strength and optimism.