The Canadian Opera Company Presents: “Salome” by Richard Strauss at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (February 3, 5, 9, 11, 17, 19, and 24, 2023)

Don’t let frosty nights keep you at home this February. The Canadian Opera Company and Academy Award nominee Atom Egoyan brings you (for a short time only) Richard Strauss’ “Salome” to keep you toasty this winter season. “Salome” takes you on an emotional operatic journey infused with heartache, modern dance with dashes of horror, and nostalgic documentary film snapshots in the life space of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts between February 3, 5, 9, 11, 17, 19, and 24, 2023.

Atom Egoyan’s interpretation of “Salome” is adapted from the Oscar Wilde play of the same name. The audience inhales the Biblical story of Salome (Ambur Braid), a tempestuous young princess whose obsession with the prisoner Jochanaan (John the Baptist). The audience will exhale softly as their story line turns deadly when Salome’s feelings are rejected. Hell-bent on revenge, she offers her lecherous stepfather, the king, a provocative dance in exchange for Jochanaan’s head. The musical interludes between Salome, Jochanaan, and Salome’s parents are frightful and dripping with toxicity and confusion. The ambience that unfolds in front of the audience may encourage thoughts of an immediate intervention within a haze of bewilderment.

The onyx set is a sight to behold and breathes a quiet heartbeat on the stage. Upon first perusing the grandiosity of the set pieces, the audience is met with ominous lingering bodies which hold a robust distance from one another like menacing strangers. The slanted stage has many Easter eggs buried within it. There is a translucent walkway above the stage where shadowy figures move like ghosts. A lower section where light shines through an opening through the stage, where bodies are housed, and numerous moveable screens which projects images, and sounds to rest your wandering gaze upon. Reflect upon the small porcelain ballerinas that live off stage right which when basked in light, project giant images of dancers in flight. A modern dance sequence buried within the threat of a dark forest will leave you squirming in your seat and thinking of the Blair Witch. The blending of flashlights onto characters on the stage and into the darkness of the audience encourages a communal discomfort which may make you feel that you are being robbed in your own home. Emptied bowls of fruit slide down stage right and are reminiscent of scenes out of The Shining. Nods to Alfred Hitchcock bombastic suspense infused imagery coupled with Strauss’ decadent musical score illuminates the air with purpose and intrigue. The unsettling perspective of Salome caressing and kissing Jochanaan’s decapitated head while its blood drips down her white silk dress and onto the floor will encourage you to wonder the importance of learning more about Strauss’ art.

Ambur Braid returns to the Canadian Opera Company with a raw and drowning performance of Salome. Braid’s demonstrates a deep desire, sorrow, and anger as Salome. If you are new to opera, Braid will offer you a wonderful introduction to the art form. Finnish soprano, Karita Mattila, delivers a deeply vigorous performance as Salome’s mother, Herodias, with a stoic lens. Veteran Canadian tenor Michael Schade plays King Herod with incredible delivery. German baritone Michael Kupfer-Radecky plays Jochanaan with an understanding of a tormented soul.

COC Music Director Johannes Debus conducts the COC Orchestra for Salome. Each performance will feature more than 90 musicians in the pit, helping to fully realize Strauss’ ambitious vision for an explosive score that would redefine modern storytelling. Salome is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

The Canadian Opera Company Presents: “The Marriage of Figaro” by Wolfgang Mozart at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (January 27, 29, Feb 2, 4, 10, 12, 16, 18, 2023)

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner – so why not treat your lover or loved one to The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ as a holiday treat?  Chocolates and bottles of wine are so passé – opera tickets is the ultimate Valentine’s gift.

Canadian Opera Company audiences will find themselves ensnared in a web of erotic passions with a new production of Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro this winter. One of the most beautiful and convincing operas about the fluid enchantments, maze-like confusions, and bouts of sheer blindness brought on by love. The Marriage of Figaro is on stage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts for 8 performances from January 27, 29, February 2, 4, 10, 12, 16, and 18, 2023.

The audience is introduced to a stark yet grandiose dwelling curated by set and costume designer Christian Schmidt. The opera’s action all leads up to a dramatic showdown in the garden, cleverly created with shadows by video designer Andi A. Müller and lighting by Olaf Winter.

The Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Marriage of Figaro was originally built by the Salzburg Festival as the centre piece of its celebrations for the 250th anniversary of Mozart’s birth. It was hailed as a “masterpiece” (Bloomberg News) and was the hit of the 2006 Salzburg Festival – revived repeatedly in successive seasons since. German director Claus Guth is renowned for his innovative productions of classic operas and for this Figaro he draws visual and thematic inspiration from the films of Ingmar Bergman and the plays of Ibsen and Strindberg.

In Figaro, Mozart writes musical moments of unprecedented emotional impact and sensuality, delivering an opera that fuses comedy, tragedy and poetry to create one of the smartest and sharpest explorations of human relationships in all theatre. Mozart’s score oozes depth, sex appeal and the moors of darkness within the confines of a relationship.  As the performance unfolds we breathe in Figaro, Susanna, The Count and Countess at their best and their worst.  How could we not squirm in our seats and think of our own past (or present) dalliances in the pitch of the honeymoon period to the equivalent of the February blues?  Anxiety, self doubt, confusion and grief all play a part. The reality is these flavours run through our veins throughout the course of our relationships.  The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is a wonderful reflection within ourselves and the health of our romantic lives.

Cherubim’s insertion of humour as he sprinkled feathers and imaginary cupid arrows at the characters added a touch of whimsy, delight and giddy smiles throughout the production. Again, a lovely reminder that even in the darkest of times we need laughter to pull us through. 

A sparkling cast has been assembled for this magnificent, witty farce that finds Figaro and Susanna’s wedding in jeopardy due to the wandering eye of their employer, the Count. The ensuing intrigue and mistaken identities lead all the characters to experience intense human passions as they’re torn between morality, desire and impulse. Italian bass-baritone Luca Pisaroni returns to Toronto as Figaro with effervescence.  The Canadian Opera Company introduces American soprano Andrea Carroll, in the lead role of the cheeky Susanna.  Australian soprano Lauren Fagan, injects the Countess with a deep longing. Canadian bass-baritone and Ensemble graduate Gordon Bintner return with his remarkable take on the Count. American mezzo-soprano Emily Fons plays the amusing Cherubino, Canadian bass Robert Pomokov as Dr. Bartolo and Irish-Canadian tenor Michael Colvin take on the roles of the music teacher Don Basilio. Canadian baritone Doug MacNaughton and Canadian-American soprano Mireille Assselin offers us a place to linger in their roles of the gardener Antonio and his daughter Barbarina. Cherubim, an additional silent character seen throughout the opera, often manipulating other characters and representing love’s forceful push and pull; he is played by German actor Uli Kirsch, who reprises the role from 2016.

The Canadian Opera Company’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’ is perfect for the novice opera goer. It is a modern piece, the staging architecture will make you swoon in its crown mouldings and sweeping staircase glory, the rich characterization of the talent and song will make your knees shake in your seat and the orchestral accompaniment will make you wonder why you haven’t come to the opera sooner.

British conductor Harry Bicket, current Music Director with Santa Fe Opera, returns to the COC podium to lead the company’s acclaimed COC Orchestra through one of Mozart’s most brilliant and powerful scores, alongside the COC Chorus guided by Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst. The Marriage of Figaro is sung in Italian and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Toronto Tea Festival (January 28 & 29, 2023) & #teafest23 Ticket Giveaway!

The Toronto Tea Festival has returned! Whether you are new to the world of tea or a long-time aficionado, the Toronto Tea Festival will offer you access to traditional teas along with tremendous innovative varieties. Be prepared for a long day of tea tasting, purchasing and most importantly sampling from the loveliest of artisans. Learn from experts in the industry at one of the complimentary presentations. Folx, this festival is where you need to be if you love hot drinks and wellness! In the past, I have enjoyed teas from different places of origin, processing techniques, and preparation styles. Bring some extra cash to pick up a tea ware set or two!

Thank you to our friends at the Toronto Tea Festival for gifting Thirty Four Flavours readers with 2 pairs of  #teafest23 tickets. The Toronto Tea Festival will be held at the Toronto Public Library on Saturday January 28th or Sunday January 29th/2023!

What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and #teafest23 tickets Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet, Instagram DM or email ( telling me which date you are interested in attending the #teafest23.

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and #teafest23 tickets Giveaway is Saturday January 21, 2023.

Happy tea sipping!

SPARKLE: The Annual Media Profile Holiday Party (Dec 1, 2022)

Media Profile celebrated their annual holiday party Thursday night and as usual – it was epic! The pandemic may have kept us away from celebrating over the last 2 years. But tonight, we were making up for lost time. Media Profile prides itself on being a full service public relations and creative agency. They use all the tools under the holiday tree, whether media relations, social media, content creation and marketing etc. So clearly it was no surprise that their holiday parties resemble who they are and how they work. Think warm, generous, compassionate, and guaranteed to be exciting!

We love the historic Burroughes Building space. The aged brick, high ceilings, swooping arched doorways, NYC elevator shaft and roof top patio – makes you feel welcome and truly part of a family. It was no surprise that Media Profile’s guests were keen to take photos throughout the space for prosperity. We loved the lavender, mauve, silver, aquamarine balloons that hung from the rustic ceiling. The wintery white trees and the metallic reindeers were perfect spots to grab your Instagram story shots to make your friends at home jealous.

This year we indulged upon custom Inniskillin cocktails which were named “Inn-nuendo”, “Lady Randolph”, and “Ginninjuice”. We also dabbled in the Wine Rack selection which included Jackson-Triggs and Saintly offerings. They were lush, silky, and helped us wind down after a busy year.

Sixty Six Brix’s maple sugar station was buzzing as they drizzled the most gorgeous of maple syrup onto a bed of ice. Sixty Six Brix’s maple sugar station doled out gourmet cheese wrapped into ice hardened maple syrup like an ensconced sweater. We like to spend as much time as possible inhaling these delights when we are at Media Profile’s Holiday party.

As we mingled throughout the space we also munched on the snacks that seem to be constantly coming out of the busy kitchen space. Snacks that included of toasty poutines, Baba Ghanoush toast, Spicy Southern Fried Chicken sliders, filled our bellies. These small eating pauses also allowed us to catch up with friends and share a quiet moment over a candle lit table.

The DJ was sure to cloud the air with cool mixes as we danced the night away while also saying hello to new friends as they breezed into the space.

We took advantage of the photographer/selfie station. The printed shots on the tiniest printer you have ever seen as a takeaway bonbonierre. If you are going to get your hair blown out and put on a cute party dress, you might as well get your pictures in!

Media Profile will always be known as the most crashable holiday party in Toronto. It’s epic in stature, the attention to detail is always on point and most importantly the vibe is consistently friendly, accommodating and authentically warm. Perfectly symbolic of the Media Profile brand and people.

As always, thank you for the invite! Until December 2023!

Happy Holidays! #MPParty

The Canadian Opera Company’s: “Carmen” by Georges Bizet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022)

Chilly nights in Toronto require a trip to the opera. The Canadian Opera Company presents “Carmen” by Georges Bizet at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts this Fall between October 14, 16, 20, 22, 26, 28, 30, and November 4, 2022). The diva can give Beyoncé a run for her money is here for a limited time. “Carmen” is truly an opera for women.

Carmen is a seductive, freedom-loving woman, desired by many. She takes Don José, a young soldier, as her latest lover, who defects from the army to join her in her smuggling life. But when she spurns him for the dashing toreador Escamillo, Don José cannot accept her rejection…to fatal consequences.

The Canadian Opera Company’s has pulled out all the stops by securing two-time Grammy Award winner J’Nai Bridges. Ms. Bridges will hypnotize you in the title role of Carmen. Her voice saturates the stage. Bridges performance of “L’amour est un oiseau rebelle” will make you swoon. Additionally, Carmen’s gorgeous long locks, red lip, crushed velvet dress, sashes and ties offer the most delicious of seductions to her lovers. Ms. Bridges, Carmen, will make you want to pay her a visit more than once this season.

1167 – A scene from the Canadian Opera Company’s production of Carmen, 2022. Conductor Jacques Lacombe, director Joel Ivany, lighting designer Jason Hand, original set designer Michael Yeargan, original costume designer François St. Aubin, fight director and intimacy coordinator Siobhan Richardson. Photo: Michael Cooper

Argentine tenor Marcelo Puente plays Carmen’s hot-tempered love interest and villain, Don José. Mr. Puente performance will make you want you to shake your fist at times. The desperate love Don José holds for Carmen heaves from the stage into the audience as the story takes a dark turn.

Lebanese-Canadian soprano Joyce El-Khoury plays Micaëla. Ms. El-Khoury’s performance is exquisite. The character of Micaëla truly shines the light into the dark interiors of the staging. American Grammy Award-winning baritone Lucas Meachem plays the role of Escamillo, and closes the love triangle between Carmen and Don José. Mr. Meachem’s provides a bravado that will keep you warm in your seat.

When inhaling the heat coming off the stage at “Carmen”, ensure to dwell on the opera’s finest performance offerings such as the “Habanera”, “The Flower Song”, and the “Toreador Song”. You maybe familiar with these songs. They may even prompt you to download them upon your return home for further reflection.

Finally, when not being mesmerized by the passion fuelled performances, make time to wink at the sun-drenched production. The lighting is curated by from Toronto-based Jason Hand, combined with original set and costume designs from Michael Yeargan and François St-Aubin, whisks audiences away to bustling street scenes and danger-laced outlaw hideaways. I guarantee you will feel like you have been in Havana for 3 hours.

Ensure sure you pay a visit with a Carmen before winter’s chill gets you. Her warmth will keep you toasty until we meet at the opera again in spring 2023!

Carmen is sung in French and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES.

The Canadian Opera Company’s: The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (October 7, 9, 13, 15, 19, 21, and 23, 2022)

As the Fall approaches it’s time to venture out and immerse ourselves in gorgeous opera performances perhaps with a hot drink in hand. This opera season, the Canadian Opera company presents, The Flying Dutchman by Richard Wagner at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts between October 7, 9, 13, 15, 19, 21, and 23, 2022. It is a romantic opera in 3 acts with libretto and would pair beautifully with a hot drink in tow.

Consider this; the Flying Dutchman is an epic opera, heaving with emotion, and contains a score that is full of pomp and circumstance. The Flying Dutchman will make you swoon and want to weep all at the same time. Inspired by German expressionism and early cinema, the opera will pull you close and encourage you to reflect on your year with a critical lens.

The Flying Dutchman’s is a doomed sailor cursed to sail the seas without respite, only able to set foot on shore for one day every seven years. His freedom can only come with the finding of true love. When a local sailor and his daughter Senta encounter the ghostly ship, initial attraction leads to a high-stakes test of devotion. A truly riveting storyline brimming with heartache, love and passion.

0342 – (front, l-r) Marjorie Owens as Senta and Johan Reuter as the Dutchman in the Canadian Opera Company’s production of The Flying Dutchman, 2022. Conductor Johannes Debus, original director Christopher Alden, revival director Marilyn Gronsdal, set and costume designer Allen Moyer, lighting designer Anne Militello. Photo: Michael Cooper

The passion is further articulated by the stunning tilted and twisted set landscape by American designer Allen Moyer. It is aesthetically pleasing and jaw dropping marvel to behold. The ship’s crew fling their bodies to and fro as they mimic the ship’s ghostly nautical sway in the moonlight. The storm clouds and bleak skies pop out as the opera begins to cast you under its spell alongside a mechanical sewing and ship wheel, reclaimed wooden windows and chairs, and a beckoning crème sail.

The Flying Dutchman feverish romantic score is amplified by COC Music Director Johannes Debus in collaboration with Price Family Chorus Master Sandra Horst. Danish baritone Johan Reuter takes on the title role as the Dutchman. His performance is genuine, roaring and full of grit in stormy waters. American soprano Marjorie Owens plays the young woman infatuated with the Dutchman. Her performance is effervescent, delicate and yearning in the darkened wooden ship’s interiors. German bass Franz-Josef Selig plays Daland, the captain who discovers the Dutchman’s ghostly ship. We observe the grandiosity in his voice which beckons us to look deeper into his contributions. American tenor Miles Mykkanen illuminates the role of the Steersman and commands us to reflect on the resurfacing multiple points of views throughout the opera.

The Flying Dutchman is a hot Fall treat. It is a perfect opera for a first time attendee and a delicious delight for a seasoned opera fan. After two long years away from opera, The Flying Dutchman will offer room for introspection of love lost, a possibility for new love to be found and relish the meditative beauty of opera.

The Flying Dutchman is sung in German and presented by the COC with English SURTITLES™.

Ticket Giveaway: The Toronto Japanese Film Festival Ticket Giveaway! (June 16 – June 30, 2022)

Thank you to our friends at the Toronto Japanese Film Festival for gifting Thirty Four Flavours with a stack of tickets to get you out there in the sun and ready to catch some wonderful Japanese films! Yes, I will be giving away 3 pairs of tickets per film listed below.






What are the rules when entering the Thirty Four Flavours and the Toronto Japanese Film Festival Ticket Giveaway?

Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet, Instagram DM or email ( telling me which Toronto Japanese Film Festival film you are interested in. The films that follow are pretty special and will be sure to move and inspire you. Check out the screening guide for film summaries here,

Follow the Toronto Japanese Film Festival:


Twitter: @TorontoJFF

Instagram: @torontojff

Deadline for the Thirty Four Flavours and the Toronto Japanese Film Festival is Monday June 6, 2022.

Catch The Toronto Japanese Film Festival (TJFF) from June 16 – June 30, 2022

The samurai of the cinematic variety, are set to descend on Toronto’s Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s Kobayashi Hall this summer.  They are joined by yakuza mobsters, manga artists in love, teenage assassins, ruthless journalists, anime princesses, campaigning dog lovers, Michelin star chefs, dashing hotel detectives and the fantastic beasts of Japan myth.

The Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre’s 11th annual Toronto Japanese Film Festival will be held from June 16 to 30 and features 24 films.  After 2 successful virtual editions, the festival returns to in-person screenings at the JCCC’s Kobayashi Hall. Also returning to the festival are taiko drumming performances, great food and art exhibitions. One of the largest film events of its kind outside Japan, the TJFF is recognized by the Japanese film industry as a vital conduit for bringing Japanese film to the world.  Many films come to the festival prior to their Japanese release.

TJFF 2022’s Opening Night film is the Canadian premiere of THE PASS: LAST DAYS OF THE SAMURAI, directed by Takashi Koizumi, Akira Kurosawa’s Assistant Director on Ran and Kagemusha followed byan exclusive virtual Q&A with the director. Director Koizumi creates classic samurai cinema, replete with gorgeous period costumes, sets and epic battle scenes tell the story of historical figure Tsuginosuke Kawai and the demise of the samurai class. Starring Koji Yakusho, Tatako Matsu, Tatsuya Nakadai

The Closing Night film is the International premiere of Kenji Nakanishi’s DREAMING OF THE MERIDIAN ARC, a light-hearted look at the Edo-period creation of the first map of Japan.

Highlights of the TJFF lineup of 24 feature films include –

Masaharu Takizaka’s THE LAST GOZE tells the true story of Haru Kobayashi, one of the last “goze” artists. Becoming sightless as an infant at the dawn of the 20th century, Haru’s best option is to become a “goze” – a blind entertainer who travels the countryside singing stories while playing the shamisen. At the height of her career, Haru became one of the most famous performers of her generation, eventually named a Living National Treasures.

Preceded by a shamisen performance by Ten Ten’s Aki Takahashi.


Takuya Kimura and Masami Nagasawa return in the hit follow-up to Masquerade Hotel. Police detective Nitta and hotel concierge Yamagishi are reunited at the elegant Cortesia Hotel to stop a murder at a New Year’s Eve countdown party with 500 invitees in costume. Can they unveil the truth hidden behind the murderer’s mask in time? A fast-paced, entertaining who-done-it featuring an all-star cast. 


The North American premiere of Michihito Fuji’s tender, deeply moving story of the transcendent power of love. Matsuri learns she has an incurable disease and only 10 years left to live. She vows not dwell on her condition, to live her best life and, given her life expectancy, she swears not to fall in love. That is, until she goes to a school reunion and meets Kazuto… Starring Nana Komatsu, Kentaro Sakaguchi and Yuki Yamada. 


Master director Yoji Yamada’s love letter to the golden age of the Japanese film industry based on the novel by popular prize-winning novelist Maha Harada.   This heartwarming tale of love, family and friendship spanning a lifetime was nominated for multiple Japanese Academy Awards including Best Picture. Starring Kenji Sawada, Masaki Suda, Mei Nagano, Nobuko Miyamoto 


Director Kazuya Shiraishi’s action-packed continuation of the masterful yakuza saga he launched with 2018’s The Blood of Wolves. Detective Hioka has the responsibility of keeping the yakuza gangs in check but bloody war is set to erupt when psychopathic gangster Uebayashi is released from prison vowing to avenge the death of his boss. Nominated for multiple Japanese Academy Awards including Best Film, Director, Actor and Supporting Actor, the film interweaves ferociously violent battles and complex interpersonal drama. Unmissable for fans of the great yakuza films. Starring Tōri Matsuzaka, Nijirō Murakami, Ryōhei Suzuki 


Winner of the 2021 Japanese Academy Awards for Best Film, Best Lead Performance and Best Newcomer. Nagisa is a transgender woman who moves from Hiroshima to Tokyo to work as a dancer in a nightclub. Her distant niece, Ichika follows her to Tokyo and pursues ballet. Although initially reluctant, Nagisa takes care of Ichika and starts to develop maternal feelings for her for the first time. This powerful and heartrending film features shattering performances by its two leads and shines a light on the struggles faced by the LGBTQ community in Japan. Starring Tsuyoshi Kusanagi, and Misaki Hattori. 


The beguiling and imaginative directorial debut from actress Non. It is the winter of 2020, and art student Itsuka can no longer display her graduation project because of the recent outbreak of COVID-19.  Non also wrote this quirky and engaging coming-of-age story that captures that dream-like isolation of the early days of the pandemic while exploring the theme of how we find motivation and purpose when an unseen enemy is intent on robbing us of both. 

Lauded by Guillermo del Toro for its monumental imagination, Junk Head is a visionary masterpiece combining dark themes, grotesque designs and even humour.
Takahide Hori’s stop motion animation is the product of seven years of laborious work. Hori was entirely self-taught and essentially created the film himself as director, writer, sculptor, animator and composer.


The moving story of two young women and their single parents. Yuko and her step-father Morimiya have a warm, almost sibling-like relationship and he tries to make her happy, Mitan’s widowed father flies off to Brazil on a job leaving her in the care of his new bride, the flamboyant Rika. But things soon get complicated… A heartwarming drama full of tears, hope, and sympathy.  Starring Kei Tanaka, Mei Nagano, Satomi Ishihara, Kurumi Inagaki, Kenshi Okada, Nao Omori 


Did you know Tokyo has the highest number of Michelin-starred restaurants in the world? Focusing on four of the leading chefs in Japan today, this documentary explores the truth behind Japan’s unique and sophisticated food culture. World-renowned food experts guide the audience through the stories behind the chefs’ endless pursuit of culinary perfection. A fascinating, mouth-watering feature doc fit for foodies and lovers of Japanese culinary culture. Starring Takemasa Shinohara, Natsuko Shoji, Yosuke Suga and Takaaki Sugita 

TJFF is programmed to reflect the rich diversity of the world 4th largest film industry: premieres include:  Daihachi Yoshida’s KIBA: THE FANGS OF FICTION, fast-paced, exhilarating dissection of the Japanese publishing world; Takahiro Horie’s SENSEI, WOULD YOU SIT BESIDE ME?, the wry and perceptive look at relationships seamlessly blends the artfulness of manga with real, live-action emotions that imitates art that imitates life; Tetsu Maeda’s WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR NEST EGG!? stars two of the greats from Takarazuka theatre, Amami and Kusabue both nominated for Japanese Academy Awards; and Shuichi Okita’s ONE SUMMER STORY, a heartfelt and uplifting coming-of-age anime based on Tajima Rettou’s award winning manga.

Yukiko Sode’s ARISTOCRATS questions how boundaries of class and gender intertwine in a nuanced tale of female friendship; Hugo Sakamoto’s indie action-comedy BABY ASSASSINS;  Takahisa Zeze’s IN THE WAKE,  nominated for Best Film, Best Actor and Supporting Japanese Academy Awards is adapted from popular author Shichiri Nakayama’s best-seller is a taut, intense thriller touching on themes of collective responsibility, the limits of compassion and the stigma surrounding welfare in Japan. 

In Takayuki Hirao’s animated POMPO THE CINEPHILE a famous movie producer gives her young production assistant a chance to direct his first film. Based on the popular webcomic, Masaaki Taniguchi’s MUSICOPHILIA, tells the story of a young man with a special ability to hear sounds from the shapes and colors of objects; and the YA adventure film Takashi Miike’s THE GREAT YOKAI WAR – GUARDIANS, is a grand and hilarious adventure through the world of Japanese myth 

The Toronto Japanese Film Festival’s mandate is aligned with that of the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre. In the 59 years since the opening of the JCCC, film has been an important tool in creating friendship, understanding, and exchange between the Japanese and broader Canadian community. Ticket sales from the festival also help to drive our heritage programming which shares the important lessons of cultural acceptance and human rights, implicit in the Japanese Canadian experience with all Canadians.

To purchase tickets online go to, or call 416-441-2345 or visit the JCCC

(6 Garamond Court M3C 1Z5) 10am – 12pm & 1pm – 5pm daily, for tickets and more information. 

·       SINGLE TICKETS: JCCC Members: $12 / Non-member   $15    

·       5 FILM PASS (100 passes are available): JCCC Members $55 / Non-members: $70 

·       10 FILM PASS (100 passes are available): JCCC members: $110 / Non-member: $140

For more information on the TJFF lineup:

Follow the Toronto Japanese Film Festival:


Twitter:  @TorontoJFF

Instagram:  @torontojff

Fever Toronto presents: Candlelight Concerts “A Tribute to Adele” at the Longboat Hall (May 10, 2022)

If you are interested in a unique musical experience that is guaranteed to provide you with meditative moments – you must check out Candlelight Concerts. Fever Toronto brings Candlelight Concerts to Toronto. The Candlelight Concert series provides concerts illuminated by candlelight and performed by live musicians in some of the most iconic venues.

One of the most sought after events is A Tribute to Adele at the Longboat Hall. If you have tried tirelessly to get Adele tickets or are interested inhaling her music through a classical music lens, this event is for you.

The Listeso String Quartet sat on a stage as a warm collective in the darkened space of the Longboat Hall on Queen Street West. Longboat Hall is a historic landmark space, which embodies an inviting ambience to enjoy live music. Think dark pillars, wooden flooring rafters, chandeliers which has been transformed from a once YMCA space.

When you enter the Longboat Hall, you are met with a litter of candles quietly burning. Grab your seat, a drink from the bar and exhale. The quartet began promptly on time. They played some of Adele’s most legendary songs to date. Songs like, “Rumour Has It”, “Make You Feel My Love”, “Water Under the Bridge” and “Oh My God”. The space, the music, the ambience and the guests – created a deeply emotional collective connection. Guests had tears in their eyes, as they looked upon the musicians and the burning candles below their feet.

The musicians commenced with “Hello”. Listening to the first few notes of this song as played by the Listeso String Quartet will leave you feeling reflective. One of the violinists played music, which emulated Adele’s voice. It was magical, beautiful and most importantly moving. In that moment, I knew I would never forget this performance.

As the hour passed, we listened to “Someone Like You” and “Skyfall” which punctuated the room with elation and murmurs of a singalong in guest’s seats. I gazed upon other attendees above me in the rafters and on the floor; I noticed that the guests were transfixed. The wooden flooring creaked as guests settled into their seats between songs. The hour performance was just right to keep our attention. If the quartet had played another hour of classical music from their own portfolios, guests would have stayed longer to hear more.

Other songs that were on the tableau for the evening included of “Send My Love (To Your New Lover)”, “Chasing Pavements”, “When We Were Young” and “Set Fire to the Rain”. The musical arrangements were beautifully curated. One of the musicians, by the name of Ryan, whom played the viola introduced each song with humour, which added to the relaxed atmosphere. Some guests were dressed in opulent attire, whereas others arrived in their after work clothes. After 2 years away from live music – we were present and truly letting the experience wash all over us.

As we wrapped up the evening with “Easy On Me” and “Rolling in the Deep”, there was a noted satiation amongst the guests. Would we attend another Candlelight Concert? Yes. How do we feel leaving the Candlelight Concert “A Tribute to Adele”? Happy and satisfied. As we left Longboat Hall, we passed cars playing Adele through their stereo systems with their windows wide open.

#HotDocs22 @hotdocs: The Benevolents (May 7, 2022)

The Benevolents takes us into the world of the Tel-Aide Montreal call centre, as we follow a group of future volunteers who are learning the art of empathetic listening. Through an intimate treatment, the film seeks to recall the importance of vigilant ears in a society of loneliness.

Review: The art of listening is illustrated in this gem of a film. The viewer witnesses how counsellors at Tele-Aide in Montreal create a safe space for individuals to share their stories without interruption. Elements of care such as empathy, respect and availability colours in this black and white documentary through the words of counsellors. Resplendent. Meaningful.

Thirty Four Flavours Rating: 5/5