Digital Audio Series
Key Change is the COC’s new podcast, co-hosted by classical singer and culture critic Robyn Grant-Moran, a member of the COC’s Circle of Artists, alongside stage director, dramaturg and COC Academy graduate Julie McIsaac. Our bi-weekly episodes explore the operagoing experience from a variety of perspectives, offering a fresh take on today's opera issues with special guests from the opera field and beyond.
Episode 14: Opera & Space – Scale and Immersion
In an art form often viewed as traditional and static, Yuval Sharon and Debi Wong are known for their experimental and unorthodox takes on opera production. From site-specific works that audiences drive through, to a virtual reality “choose your own adventure” experience, Robyn and Julie explore what happens when we push the boundaries of opera’s physical spaces and ask “What would opera look like, if it were created or invented today?”
Yuval Sharon is founder and Artistic Director of The Industry in Los Angeles, specializing in new and experimental opera, and the newly appointed Gary L. Wasserman Artistic Director of Detroit’s Michigan Opera Theatre. From 2016-2019, Sharon was the first Artist-Collaborator at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He is the recipient of the 2014 Götz Friedrich Prize in Germany for his production of John Adams’s Doctor Atomic. His production of Cunning Little Vixen, originally produced at the Cleveland Orchestra, was the first fully-staged opera ever presented in Vienna’s Musikverein in October 2017. In 2017, Sharon received a MacArthur Fellowship and a Foundation for Contemporary Art grant for theater.
Debi Wong is a multidisciplinary performer, creator and producer that lives and works on the unceded lands of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw, and səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ Nations. She is also the founding artistic director of re:Naissance Opera, a bold new company driven by local artists and a deep commitment to equity, intersectionality, innovation and collaboration. Highlights of the past year include: The Apocrypha Chronicles, a ground-breaking new podcast that reached #1 in Canada for Fiction; and OrpheusVR, an interactive Virtual Reality opera that was featured at the VIFF Immersed exhibit at the 2020 Vancouver International Film Festival. www.reopera.com | www.orpheusvr.ca
More on Yuval Sharon’s Twilight: Gods - https://michiganopera.org/season-schedule/twilight-gods/
More on Yuval Sharon’s Sweet Land - https://theindustryla.org/sweet-land-opera/
More on Punchdrunk’s immersive work - https://www.punchdrunk.com
More on Jacques Rancière’s The Emancipated Spectator - https://www.artforum.com/print/200703/the-emancipated-spectator-12847
More on the concept of presenting La Bohème backwards - https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/la-ca-cm-yuval-sharon-20180719-story.html
More on Anthony Davis’s opera “X” - https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/anthony-daviss-revolutionary-opera-x
Yuval’s thoughts on narrative - http://intermsofperformance.site/keywords/narrative/yuval-sharon
More on re:Naissance’s social media opera, #DidoAndAeneas - https://www.reopera.com/blank-ck0q
More on re:Naissance’s OrpheusVR - https://www.reopera.com/orpheus-vr
Listen to Apocrypha Chronicles, re:Naissance’s podcast opera - https://www.reopera.com/apocrypha-chronicles
Find out more about Landon Krentz’s American Sign Language opera - https://www.reopera.com/jesse
The history behind the immersive show Toronto Circus Riot -
Key Change theme music: R. Strauss' Der Rosenkavalier. Herbert von Karajan, conductor, with the Philharmonia Orchestra; Warner Classics, 1956
Funeral March from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung. Daniel Barenboim, conductor, with Orchester der Bayreuther Festspiele. Warner Classics, 1991.
“O soave fanciulla” from Puccini’s La Bohème. Aleksandra Kurzak, Roberto Alagna. Riccardo Frizza, conductor, with Sinfonia Varsovia. Sony Classical, 2018.
“When I am laid in earth” from Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas. Véronique Gens. William Christie, conductor, with Les Arts Florissants. Erato, 2006.
MEET OUR CO-HOSTS
Robyn Grant-Moran (Métis) is a classical singer, writer, and a jack of many trades who, in 2018 met the requirements to call herself a Bachelor of the Fine Arts at York University. That same year, Robyn participated in the Performance Criticism Training Program with Generator Toronto where she learned that theatre criticism can be used to push for more inclusive spaces and champion voices less heard and often misunderstood; so of course she fell in love. Since then, she’s been published in Alt.Theatre and Intermission Magazine, won the Nathan Cohen Award for Outstanding Emerging Critic, and joined the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists, to name a few. Robyn currently resides in Tkaronto (Toronto), weathering the pandemic with her wee rat dog in a box in the sky.
Canadian stage director Julie McIsaac was named the COC’s first Director/Dramaturg-in-Residence in 2019 and is now Lead Curator of Opera Everywhere, the company's reimagined 20/21 season. A versatile opera and theatre artist, her projects work towards reshaping and revitalizing the stories told on stage. During her residency with the COC, she served as Assistant Director on Joel Ivany's production of Hansel and Gretel (COC) and she is the Dramaturg and Director of the upcoming COC commission Fantasma, composed by COC Composer-in-Residence Ian Cusson with libretto by Colleen Murphy. Julie earned her Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of York (UK) and is also a graduate of Carleton University (Music) and the Canadian College of Performing Arts (Theatre Performance and Playwriting). www.juliemcisaac.com