In conjunction with the our new production of Harry Somers’ Louis Riel, FREE events are taking place in Toronto throughout the month of April, allowing the general public to discover this uniquely Canadian contribution to the opera world, as well as the Métis history and cultural traditions that inspired the operatic tale of the Métis leader and Canada’s westward expansion.
On April 13, from 12 – 1 p.m., the V'ni Dansi's Louis Riel Métis Dancers bring the rhythms and images of the Métis spirit alive through traditional and contemporary styles of Métis dance and music. The Vancouver-based company is dedicated to sharing the dances, stories and culture of the Métis and, on April 13, performs in the Free Concert Series for the first time in celebration of the Métis people.
On April 20, the Métis Fiddler Quartet comes to the Free Concert Series from 12 – 1 p.m., presenting a musical voyage that travels the trade routes of the Northwestern frontier. Born in Winnipeg, the four Delbaere-Sawchuk siblings: Alyssa, Conlin, Nicholas and Danton, of the Métis Fiddler Quartet, perform Métis fiddle music passed down by their elders, while drawing on their diverse backgrounds in classical music, jazz and beyond. On April 20, audience members are encouraged to clap, jig and sing along with this award-winning group and discover the history of the Métis people in Canada through fiddle tunes and songs.
On April 12, the COC hosts Rebel Without a Chance: Louis Riel at the Toronto Public Library – Don Mills location (888 Lawrence Ave. E.) as part of our Opera Talks series. In this free and interactive session, Opera Canada editor Wayne Gooding offers a multi-media exploration of the theme of opera and revolution by examining how the opera Louis Riel tells the story of this important historical figure. Rebel Without a Chance: Louis Riel takes places at 7 p.m. No advance registration is required. For more information, please visit www.coc.ca/OperaTalks.
On April 13, the COC's Youth Opera Lab series explores the traditional music of the Métis people in a workshop led by musician and educator Conlin Delbaere-Sawchuk of the Métis Fiddler Quartet. This free workshop for teens and young adults ages 16 to 24 takes place from 5 – 9:30 p.m. at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts (145 Queen St. W.) and includes the opportunity to observe an on-stage rehearsal of Louis Riel. Youth Opera Lab spaces are free but advance application is required to secure one of the 25 spots available. Applications are available at www.coc.ca/YOL and are being accepted until April 5, 2017.
On April 21, the free, day-long symposium Hearing Riel explores the complex biographical, historical and political terrain of Harry Somers' landmark Canadian opera. Symposium presenters include Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada; John Ralston Saul, author of A Fair Country; Métis activist and lawyer Jean Teillet, grandniece of Louis Riel; Adam Gaudry, Métis Assistant Professor, Faculty of Native Studies, University of Alberta; and Peter Hinton, director of our production of Louis Riel. This special, one-day-only event is presented by the COC in partnership with the University of Toronto's Faculty of Music and the Humanities Initiative of the Munk School of Global Affairs. The symposium runs from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. at Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave., St. George Campus, University of Toronto.) Admission is free and tickets can be reserved in advance as of April 4 by visiting www.coc.ca/HearingRiel or by calling the Box Office at 416-363-8231. There is a limit of one ticket per person.
Louis Riel is onstage at the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts from April 20 to May 13. For more information and to purchase tickets, please click here.
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Sara Fulgoni in the COC production of Bluebeard's Castle. Photo: Michael Cooper © 2001