Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Rob Ford, The Opera Premieres on January 22nd at the University of Toronto

Toronto Santa Claus Parade 9525
Image by sniderscion
As part of its Student Composer Collective, the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto will be presenting one performance of Rob Ford, The Opera on Sunday, January 22nd at 2:30pm in the Macmillan Theatre. Admission will be free. The concept and libretto (based on Toronto's colorful and controversial mayor) are the brainchild of U of T Resident Stage Director (and Tapestry LibLab dramaturg/animateur) Michael Albano. From the U of T press release:
To celebrate the 15th successful year of the Student Composer Collective, the Faculty of Music will present Rob Ford, the Opera. The concept and libretto is by the Opera Division’s Resident Stage Director, Michael Patrick Albano with musical contributions by four of the Faculty’s gifted student composers: Massimo Guido, Anna Hostman, Adam Scime and Saman Shah.

In 1997, the Opera Division inaugurated a workshop at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music to allow student composers to gain experience writing opera, following a process of composition, dramaturgy, orchestration and staged public performance. The concept proved so successful that the workshop was ultimately introduced as a formal course in composition at the graduate level.

The opera [approximately an hour in length] is a surrealist fantasy based loosely upon the personality of Toronto’s current and much discussed Mayor. In describing the piece, the librettist writes “I have long been puzzled that one of the most important dramatic movements of the twentieth century, The Theatre of the Absurd - skilfully pioneered by Apollinaire, Ionesco, and Samuel Beckett - has, curiously, not made substantial inroads into opera. Rob Ford, the Opera, corrects that omission and jaunts joyously into the no-holds-barred ring of the ridiculous”

In addition to the GamUT ensemble, Rob Ford, the Opera features singers from the Faculty of Music’s distinguished Opera Division, including Andrew Haji as Rob Ford and Rosanna Murphy as Margaret Atwood. The opera will be conducted by Raphael Luz and directed by Erik Thor.
There is no word yet regarding whether or not Mayor Ford will be making a cameo appearance in the opera. I presume that there will be no comment from the Mayor's office. My vote for Most Predictable Line in the libretto: "I'm Rob F***ing Ford!"

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