Monthly Archives: October 2018

The Canadian Opera Company Presents Rufus Wainwright’s “Hadrian” (October 13, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 2018)


When the curtain rises for the Canadian Opera Company’s world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian on October 13, 2018 audience members will be the first to experience a sleek and provocative new work. The opera reunites the all-star creative team behind 2017’s Louis Riel, led by Canadian stage director Peter Hinton. With a libretto from Canadian playwright Daniel MacIvor, Hadrian explores the life and legacy of the Roman emperor, in the wake of his young lover’s death. The production draws from a number of contemporary influences to transpose Hadrian and Antinous’ story from the pages of history to the here and now, driving home the enduring relevance of this epic, ancient love story. Hadrian runs for seven performances on October 13, 17, 19, 21, 23, 25, 27, 2018.

“It’s tremendously exciting to give birth to this new work,” says COC Music Director Johannes Debus, who conducts the COC Orchestra through a score with a rich and colourful orchestral palette. “Hadrian’s vitality, elegance, and beauty is disarming, effectively combining orchestral elements to convey the range of powerful emotions throughout the opera.”

Acclaimed director Peter Hinton leads some of the industry’s best design talent in bringing Hadrian’s story to life. Fresh off his work at this year’s Shaw Festival, where his production of Oh! What a Lovely War was called “educating, entertaining, heartbreaking” (Toronto Star), Hinton says one of the biggest challenges in directing Hadrian is two-fold: “It’s about telling a story that people think they know – and telling a story that people don’t know at all.” He adds that Hadrian’s story is unique, consisting of equal parts history, romance, and politics. “There is passion and treachery, love and war, spirits and magic, and a journey through ancient Rome, Greece and Egypt. The opera chronicles this liminal place in history where Imperial Rome ended and the rise of monotheism began.”

Canadian Michael Gianfrancesco has created a sense of fluidity, using a set that changes in scale and composition to reflect an amorphous sense of time. The seasoned set designer says audiences can expect to see traces of Roman architecture that have been stripped of detail and rendered into glossy black surfaces. Gianfrancesco describes it as feeling like “a death space, a place of mourning, memories, and of remembering and recalling history.”

Canadian costume designer Gillian Gallow says that in order to create an extremely modern and high-impact feel, she aimed for a “dramatically Roman” aesthetic. “If we were to do this in a historical Roman sense, the colours would be much more muted,” says Gallow. “But to make it theatrical, the colours we use are more intense, more extreme.” Other sources of inspiration include the gold leaf work of painter Gustav Klimt, a Greek-inspired fashion runway collection from Versace, and the vibrant, graphic imagery of ancient Minoan frescoes.

Hadrian features video projection designed by Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy and lighting designed by Bonnie Beecher. Beecher says strategic side illumination will appear to suspend artists in a sea of blackness. “It creates the sense that they are floating and small in a large world,” she adds. “This, along with video, can have a very powerful effect. The hope is to create beauty, with a heightened sense of time and place.”

Choreography from Denise Clarke adds further resonance to the depiction of a world where all is not what it seems. Dancers are woven throughout the storyline, representative of Hadrian’s desire for his love and also the mythical Ferrymen of the Nile, tasked with carrying souls to the underworld.

Composer Rufus Wainwright has long drawn inspiration from the Romantic tradition of grand opera, a passion that led to his first operatic work, Prima Donna, in 2009. For the internationally acclaimed Canadian-American singer-songwriter, translating Hadrian’s story into a score that reflected the complexity of his state and circumstance was a true labour of love: “My Hadrian…is a surreal romp through time and space, mixing true occurrences with complete fabrication in order to illustrate a vivid ‘creative snapshot’ of what the end of the Classical era may have felt like.” In penning the libretto, award-winning playwright Daniel MacIvor steps into new creative territory; the Canadian theatre veteran says his work on this opera carries a weight that is deeply personal: “As a gay man, not to have known Hadrian’s story felt like I had been robbed of something, of a historical figure that somehow validated my love.”

American baritone Thomas Hampson in the title role and Finnish soprano Karita Mattila as the former empress Plotina make their company debuts.  Their performances are filled with an emotional charge that will be sure to stimulate you.  Hampson’s Hadrian is epic, stoic and aching with adoration that one can not help but swoon over.  Mattila brings girl power to a whole new level as one of Hadrian’s advocates.  Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell sings Antinous, with a fervour that will make your knees knock.  Soprano Ambur Braid, is Hadrian’s wife Sabina;  eloquent and effervescent in the same breath.   American bass David Leigh adds a fluidness  to his Turbo, head of Hadrian’s military.   Smile during legendary Canadian tenor Ben Heppner’s cameo appearance as Dinarchus.

Hadrian marks the second COC production for the powerhouse creative team behind 2017’s Louis Riel: celebrated set designer Michael Gianfrancesco, costume designer Gillian Gallow, and lighting designer Bonnie Beecher, all led by boundary-pushing Canadian director Peter Hinton. Joining the team for Hadrian is projection designer Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy (the COC’s Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung) and choreographer Denise Clark.  Ensure that you grab tickets before Hadrian’s close on October 27, 2018.


FNLROM at the ROM October 19/2018 – Ticket Giveaway

Another week and another amazing ticket giveaway for FNLROM at the ROM on October 19/2018.  Simple! Please sign up to Thirty Four Flavours Facebook, Twitter, or email subscription to enter the draw. When you have signed up please send me a Facebook message, a tweet or email ( telling me what you are excited to see at #FNLROM by October 18, 2018.

Here’s the scoop!

A subjective documentation of the unfiltered human experience as seen by Toronto artist Sean Brown, with art direction by Umbereen. Throughout the Museum, these images – entirely captured with an iPhone – express the artist’s assessment of existence and purpose in hopes of closure, reconnection, or context.

About the artist: Sean Brown is a Toronto-based artist, fashion designer (NEEDS&WANTS), photographer, and creative director (Daniel Caesar). His mantra: Research, Travel, Design. Sean’s work does not revel in the realm of instant gratification; instead, his ability to transform progressive ideas into intriguing, stimulating, and tangible realities. CURVES is a reflection of study and process, and the endless possibilities we can entertain once we are humble enough to accept room for improvement.

About the art director: Umbereen Inayet, is a national award-winning artistic producer and director, currently an Artistic Producer for Nuit Blanche Toronto. With over a decade of experience working with artists and studios such as Ai Weiwei, Director X, Creative Time, JR, and eL Seed, Umbereen has explored a vast spectrum of the human experience to create public artworks for all.

About the co-creative: Eric LaChance is an artist currently operating in fields ranging from space and product design to photography and film.

Explore the chapters of the project as explained by artist Sean Brown:

If the world as we know had ended, this is how it was remembered… –Sean Brown

Why Am I Here?
An exploration of earth’s natural wonders demands a sense of humility.

In No Particular Order
A colourful retrospective of the impact mobile photography has had on my output. While I’m often vocal about my love for vintage and analogue equipment, I’ve been very selective when pairing that love with technological advancements.

My Time On Earth
The power of the moving mobile image is in its composition, simplicity, and engagement with the human experience. These vignettes were all shot on smartphones and are unedited. With a still, you feel a need to add a layer of imagination to process the image; video allows for a more immersive experience.

Don’t Quote Me On That
Once this project was complete, I had a hard time categorizing it. I would send it to my friends (without context) and ask them to describe their impressions back to me. The best we had come up with was “conversation and composition”: an audio journal of my travels and candid conversations with loved ones and strangers that I’m trying my very hardest to keep off of the World Wide Web. I’ve always felt that it’s unhealthy to be fully set on your opinions and ideals. I try to parallel my approach to the creative with my approach to life. There needs to be room for error, room for growth, room to teach, and a vast amount of space to unlearn. I don’t know if I believe in the concept of a genius but I think we’re all capable of genius moments in our processes. But I could be wrong, so don’t quote me on that.

Room for Reverence
The world can be unstable. We can all use moments that help us step back, detach, and acknowledge we even exist. Nature has always made me reflect on my own existence. This is a collection of sunsets on loop during live piano medleys by composer and producer Alex Ernewein.

The final installment of the project is a space to reflect. Soundscapes and moving images exist on loop to encourage and further curiosity.

This is the world as I discovered it, as I saw it, and as it was left behind…  –Sean Brown

Wild Toronto
From towering Toronto trees and bats above you to the fossils beneath your feet, take notice of nature in our urban environment.

The following galleries will be closed this week during #FNLROM: Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada, Daphne Cockwell Gallery Dedicated to First Peoples Art & Culture, and all Level 3 galleries.


Kaya iky
Spins an eclectic soul-disco-house sound. A vinyl-only DJ and producer, Kaya’s sound stems from Montenegrin roots and time spent living and studying in Prague, and is influenced by his open-ended library of world music.

Domanique Grant
A unique combination of talent and whimsical fierceness, indie-pop singer Domanique Grant’s music pulls you into personal moments that make you feel like a guest invited into the world that she creates. Her lyrics explore the meaning of home in urban cities like Toronto and remind audiences to connect and feel something real again.

Conor Cutz
An open-format DJ and entrepreneur hailing from Toronto. Known for his turntablist background and ability to read any crowd, Conor redefines the role of a party DJ through style and sophistication. He currently holds residencies at some of Toronto’s most notable venues including The Four Season’s Hotel, Brooklynn, SOHO House, and more.

Alex Ernewein
Alex started playing piano at the age of eight and has picked up a number of instruments since then. He went to Humber College for piano and has played in most Toronto live music venues including Massey Hall, Danforth Music Hall, Opera House, Great Hall, Orbit Room, The Rex, Poetry Jazz Cafe, and others. He has toured with Daniel Caesar and was a part of the production team on the album Freudian. Most recently, he toured with Charlotte Day Wilson. Alex currently runs his own studio in Parkdale and spends his time producing for artists both in Toronto and in LA.


Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Local Hawaiian grinds – we bring da islandz to you!
Delicious Japanese street food specialized in fried chicken.
Mnandi Pies
Hand crafted Zimbabwean-style pies made with fresh, locally-sourced ingredients. Vegetarian options.
Tita Flips
Elevated Filipino street food. Vegetarian, gluten-free, and lactose-free options.
My Crème Caramel
French desserts handmade from scratch. Vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options.
STK Toronto
Indulge in the savoury pulled braised beef from modern-chic Yorkville steakhouse STK Toronto! Gluten-free option.
Feed the 6
Culinary fusion inspired by the city of Toronto. Gluten-free options.
Patisserie Kirin
Brings you delicately handcrafted French-style opera cakes, with a unique Japanese flavour twist, and One Shot: The Nespresso of Ice Cream. Sorbet ice cream/lactose-free options.
Delight Bite
The best fresh Mexican food. Vegetarian, vegan, & gluten-free options.
Modern Asian food drawing inspiriation from Canadian and Asian classics. Vegetarian and vegan options.

Date & Time

  • Friday, October 19. Event runs from 7:00 – 11:30 PM




ROM Membership

ROM membership is your best value! Join now and save on selected programs and events.

FNLROM Oct 12/18 – Ticket Giveaway

Happy to spread the good vibes of FNLROM at the ROM this weekend!  Thank you to the Royal Ontario Museum for the hook up!  I would like to give my one of my readers a double pass to FNLROM on Oct 12/18.  Here’s what you get!  All you need to do is tell me why you want to go and I’ll hook you up!

Yassin Alsalman, known by the artist moniker Narcy (formerly The Narcisyst), is an Iraqi-Canadian musician and multimedia artist.. As a former member of the group Euphrates, he is considered a pioneer of Arab hip-hop. In 2017, Narcy’s directorial debut with indigenous electronic group Tribe Called Red featuring Yasiin Bey (aka Mos Def) earned a Juno Nomination for Best Music Video and won the MMVA Video of the Year. He has directed the Talib Kweli feat. Anderson Paak video “Travelling Light” and filmed with Kaytranada, Jay Electronica, Dave Chappelle, and Spike Lee.

Maya Killtron
An accomplished vocalist, DJ, and violinist. Her playful style and funk-pop beats have landed her features in Noisey, Huffington Post, and Complex, with multiple singles charting on Hype Machine. Maya’s live show has been billed as “explosive, energetic, & unshakeable fun”, bringing the dance party to audiences around the world. Maya Killtron’s highly anticipated full length solo record, Never Dance Alone, is set for release in 2019.

DJ Mix N Match
Scratching, blending and cutting his way through sets, Dj Mix N Match brings a level of unparalleled energy and showmanship to his performances that set him apart from the pack. Combining the latest hits from a number of genres like hip hop, house, RnB and top 40, his crowd-pleasing sounds have landed him a weekly residency at Bloke Nightclub in Toronto and a monthly residency at Moomba Theatre in Montreal. While he’s garnered recognition for his regular live-to-air hits on the popular radio station Z103.5, DJ Mix and Match’s live acts are the biggest draw. He has opened for heavy hitters like Drake, Future, French Montana, Zeds Dead and Diplo, to name a few.

The Sidewalk Crusaders
Don’t miss Toronto’s hottest busking band, who will bring their brass sound off the street and onto the ROM’s dance floor.

U of T Jazz Stars of the Future
Featuring students of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music.

CRANE Project
Meet members of the CRANE Project, an international, interdisciplinary research team using technology to enhance our understanding of archaeology in the Near East.

Digging the Greeks
Join our experts as we dig into Greek history with the help of the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.
Program Partner: Consulate General of Greece.

The following galleries will be closed this week during #FNLROM: Sigmund Samuel Gallery of Canada, Daphne Cockwell Gallery Dedicated to First Peoples Art & Culture, Patrick and Barbara Keenan Family Gallery of Hands-On Biodiversity, CIBC Discovery Gallery, The Bat Cave, Gallery of Birds, and Samuel European Galleries.


Liko’s Hawaiian BBQ
Local Hawaiian grinds – we bring da islandz to you!
STK Toronto
Indulge in the savoury pulled braised beef from modern-chic Yorkville steakhouse STK Toronto! Gluten-free option.
Feed the 6
Culinary fusion inspired by the city of Toronto. Gluten-free options.
Patisserie Kirin
Brings you delicately handcrafted French-style opera cakes, with a unique Japanese flavour twist, and One Shot: The Nespresso of Ice Cream. Sorbet ice cream/lactose-free options.
Delight Bite
The best fresh Mexican food. Vegetarian, vegan, & gluten-free options.
King Catering
Specializing in Caribbean cuisine with a North American twist. Halal options.
Hot Bunzz
Meet the Toronto version of the traditional Asian bao, a creative artisan bun stuffed with international street food flavours baked into an on-the-go format.
Phancy Food
Your favourite childhood dishes dressed up with a modern twist – elevated comfort food. Vegetarian options.
Ice Volcano Ice Cream
Freshly made ice cream using 100% Canadian dairy and made with liquid nitrogen. Served with special Ice Volcano presentation!

Date & Time

  • Friday, October 12. Event runs from 7:00 – 11:30 PM




ROM membership is your best value! Join now and save on selected programs and events.