Stage Door News
Toronto: Tickets are now on sale to the Luminato Festival Toronto June 7-18
Thursday, April 27, 2023
Tickets are now on sale to the Luminato Festival Toronto
• Walk with Amal Toronto - June 7-11
‘Walk with Amal Toronto’ is produced by The Walk Productions and Luminato Festival Toronto in association with Handspring Puppet Company.
A refugee child arrives in Toronto all by herself looking for her mother and a home. What should we do?
Let’s welcome Little Amal, a 12-foot puppet of a 10-year-old Syrian refugee, who has travelled through 13 countries to 90 cities across Turkey, Europe and New York City. She arrives in Toronto on June 7. She will walk across the region for 5 days looking for hope and her new home. She will be welcomed by musicians, dancers, children and elders, civic leaders, community organizers, newcomers, fellow refugees and you in a journey of art and hope.
Greet her, walk with her, offer words of wisdom and cheers of encouragement. See the world through the eyes of a child who was forced to leave her war-torn home. On behalf of displaced children everywhere, she asks that we take note, offer support and hear her message to the world: “Don’t forget about us”.
Amal’s visit to Toronto will be a magical, once-in-a-lifetime experience.
• Treemonisha – June 6-17
Originally written by Scott Joplin (c. 1911), Treemonisha is one of the few pieces set soon after the abolition of slavery, written by a survivor of that era.
Fusing European classical music with the sounds of ragtime, folk, and gospel to create a thrilling and distinct sound, and introducing a young woman protagonist chosen by her community to lead, Joplin’s nearly-lost opera was far ahead of its time.
Working from the surviving vocal score and featuring the first all-Black orchestral ensemble in Canadian opera history, the new arrangements and orchestrations by Jessie Montgomery (Sphinx Medal of Excellence and ASCAP Leonard Bernstein award winner) and Jannina Norpoth (Grammy nominee) merge musical vocabularies, reflecting the major themes of the reimagined version: split identity – African and American – and the role of one’s ancestors in coming to terms with the realities of a new land.
Led by a predominantly Black female creative team from across North America, Joplin’s ground-breaking opera has been reimagined with a new story and libretto by playwright and broadcaster Leah-Simone Bowen (The Secret Life of Canada), working with Emmy-nominated co-librettist Cheryl L. Davis. Scott Joplin’s Treemonisha is conducted by the first Black woman conductor in Canadian opera history, Panamanian-American Kalena Bovell, and directed by award-winning, internationally acclaimed Canadian stage director Weyni Mengesha.
This reimagined version tells a revolutionary story of a young Black woman who, in discovering the truth of her past, and overcoming enormous personal loss, discovers her power to unify a divided people, and lead her community towards a new future.
• Aalaapi | ᐋᓛᐱ - June 8-10
In Inuktitut, Aalaapi means “Choosing silence to hear something beautiful”. Immerse yourself in a theatrical performance that combines the sounds of the North – creaking snow, whistling winds, and voices in Inuktitut, French, and English – with radio documentary, to reveal the daily lives of women in Northern Quebec. Drawing on radio’s central role in the North, Aalaapi steps into the daily lives of two friends, Nancy and Ulivia, sharing a cabin in a small village in Nunavik. As images scroll across the cabin, an intimate portrait of young women in Northern communities, depicted with speech, sound, and silences, reveals the richness of their history and the power of their future.
Aalaapi is an invitation to listen deeply.
• Loss – June 14-18
Loss is a deeply honest, live retelling of an intergenerational family story, written by Ian Kamau and his father Roger McTair.
This multi-media performance begins as a mirror into a winter of depression, then slowly unravels the mystery surrounding the death of his paternal grandmother Nora Elutha Rogers.
An orchestration of memories using live music, video, and storytelling — Loss is an exploration of grief in Afro-Caribbean communities, and an immersive experience towards healing shared with the audience.
• Dragon’s Tale – June 15-18
A beautiful new opera performed on Toronto’s waterfront celebrating the origin of Dragon Boat racing.
In ancient China, poet and politician Qu Yuan dedicated his whole life to the King and the Chu kingdom until exile changes his world forever. In present-day Toronto, Chinese-Canadian Xiao Lian yearns for liberty and independence while her father desperately tries to hold her close. Reaching across time, the Dragon Boat’s drum beats to the rhythm of their hearts as both Qu Yuan and Xiao Lian struggle with the power of love and the desire for freedom.
Experience this operatic celebration of Chinese tradition with a Canadian backdrop, soaring music, and magical storytelling. Created by the world-renowned team behind Soundstreams’ The Weaving Maiden and Tapestry Opera’s smash-hit Iron Road including accomplished Chinese-Canadian composer Chan Ka Nin and award-winning playwright and librettist Mark Brownell. Directed by Tapestry Opera’s Artistic Director Michael Hidetoshi Mori.
• Nuit – June 8-10
Nuit is legendary Canadian choreographer Jean-Pierre Perreault’s seminal work exploring the individual among the collective through fiery, demanding contemporary dance. During the harsh night, eight performers grapple with the hurly-burly of everyday life, pushing themselves to the limit where tensions emerge and a troubling, subterranean vulnerability is expressed.
In Nuit dance becomes a “sculptural material endowed with mobility”, which makes this a major work, not only in Perreault’s legacy but in the history of Canadian choreography.
• Echoes Calling Back – June 8-18
Public art has the power to transform communities, reflecting back to us the importance of place, history, and our shared values, but also to surprise and delight passers-by reminding us to pause, and (we hope) smile.
At once buoyant and imposing, Echoes Calling Back by Jordan Bennett will transform pedestrians’ experience of a familiar and well-trodden urban site. The piece may serve as a meeting place, a shelter, a source of joy, or a symbol of our region’s living history.
Exploring the ancient relics of North American mega-fauna and using Bennett’s signature graphic style evocative of porcupine quillwork found in Mi’kmaq visual culture, this whimsical work imagines a playful remnant of a creature from a distant past, and will remind us that what we call home was once wilderness.
• Luminato Music Weekend – June 17-18
Celebrate the incredible community of musicians from across the world and around the block who will make Toronto sing and dance! Luminato’s closing weekend features surprise collaborations and musical conversations between incredible locals and international stars; curated by Alex Bordokas, David Pecaut Square will be transformed as we take you around the world and back home again, with food and drink, creative activities for all ages, and all the magic of downtown Toronto.
Come groove with us on Saturday afternoon to the sounds of Moneka Arabic Jazz, then stick around for the resplendent Yaya Bey’s soul, jazz and RnB with a cheeky edge. Polaris Music Prize winner Congolese-born Pierre Kwenders launches the evening with Afrobeats, followed by a double bill of Indigenous hip-hop from Snotty Nose Rez Kids, and Latiné New Yorker Princess Nokia.
Come back down on Sunday to witness the local premiere of Lakota multi-disciplinary artist Mato Wayuhi, travel the Black Atlantic with Lusophone ensemble Ayom, rejoice to the funk, soul, hip-hop and everything-in-between NOLA vibes of Tank and the Bangas, and dance the night away with the crown prince of Samba, Zeca Pagodinho.
• Belonging Is – June 10-18
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, social belonging is smack in the middle of the pyramid. We do not thrive without the understanding of how we fit in. And yet, social isolation and the sense of otherness pervade our public life. How can we better be a village to one another? How can we better help one another belong?
Through a series of guided engagements with the artwork, you will be invited to explore your sense of belonging in the creation of a new temporary mural at one of the city’s busiest intersections. What does belonging feel like? Smell like? What is a memory you have of feeling like you belonged?
Each day a new prompt will lead to the creation of a community mural to remind us all that we are part of something, and that we are in this together.
For more visit luminatofestival.com.