Against the Grain in So Many Ways


Where do I begin! Let’s talk first about an amazing group of rogue art makers who have decided to take a different approach on opera. Since 2010, Against the Grain Theatre has established quite the reputation for turning our favourite classics a little sideways. Performing favourites such as La Bohème and The Turn of the Screw has caught the attention of classical lovers from all over. Not only that, but attendees are brought to the most unconventional spaces to see these unconventional performances.

Back in June, their latest performance titled Figaro’s Wedding, artistic director Joel Ivany updated one of Mozart’s opera masterpieces into a Toronto-focused and English adaptation set in The Burroughes on Queen West. All four performances were sold-out and everyone was buzzing.


People also starting buzzing not only artistically but couldn’t help but rave about the fashion. Soprano Miriam Khalil, who played Susanna, beamed in a beautiful wedding dress designer by Rosemarie Umetsu. Known for dressing the classical world’s finest such as Frederica von Stade and Lang Lang, her Atelier label has garnered a strong niche of followers who are musicians, writers, dancers, singers and actors. She has personally dressed every client and jumped on board when approached to design for Figaro’s Wedding. Her inspirations came from Marie Antoinette and decided to give this modern bride a more hipster approach as well. As she found many similarities between this opera character with one of the most fashionable royals of their time, Umetsu’ dress was the icing on the cake to an absolutely impressive production.


Miriam Khalil and Rosemarie Umetsu, images courtesy of Against the Grain Theatre