Against the Grain Theatre


Their stirring reinventions of classic repertoire “smack you in the face like a bracing wake-up call to the spirit” (Globe and Mail). Award-winning Canadian opera collective Against the Grain Theatre, led by Founding Artistic Director Joel Ivany, has gained notoriety for presenting classical work in new and innovative ways, making it relevant and accessible to a new generation.


Opioid addiction and refugees: two topics that have been plaguing the news for nearly a decade. Now, in their yearlong residency, Against the Grain will explore these topics in two new chamber operas. The company will premiere composer Michelle DiBucci and librettist Royce Vavrek’s work-in-progress, Mrs Winslow’s Soothing Syrup, the story of a young woman whose world is torn apart by addiction, neglect, and apathy. The ensemble will also present a concert reading of their upcoming world premiere entitled BOUND, an opera inspired by Handel reimagined by composer Kevin Lau, which explores the global refugee crisis through texts and stories drawn from real-life news articles and world events.


“Composer Michelle DiBucci has always felt the need to give voice to people whose stories have been silenced.”

— Joel Ivany, Founder & Artistic Director, Against the Grain Theatre