Hearing Hadrian: An Opera for our Time

Interdisciplinary Conference 
Sunday, October 14
10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Doors open at 10 a.m.
Location: The 519 (519 Church St.)

The man. The love story. The opera.

Discover Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor’s new opera Hadrian  and its place within the larger context of 21st-century opera and queer storytelling. Highlights of this one-day, interdisciplinary conference include a Q&A with members of Hadrian’s cast and creative team, a panel on opera and technology, and engaging lectures by eminent scholars in musicology, classics and gender studies.

This conference is in partnership with the Canadian Opera Company, the Faculty of Music at the University of Toronto, the Mark S. Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies, and the Humanities Initiative of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy.

10:00 Doors open
     Please show your ticket at the registration desk.
10:30 Opening Remarks: “Have No Fear: Opera in the 21st Century”
     Linda and Michael Hutcheon, UofT
    Chaired by Katherine Semcesen, Associate Director, Education and Outreach
11:00 “21st-Century Technological Revolutions” Panel
    Michael Mori, Artistic Director of Tapestry Theatre
    Christopher Mokrzewski, Music Director or Against the Grain Theatre
    Rorik Henrikson, Innovator: Human Computer Interaction, Stereoscopy, and Virtual Reality
    Jake Gow, Associate Technical Director at the COC
    Moderated by Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy, Projection Designer for Hadrian
11:40  “Queer Storytelling From Screen to Stage”
    Lloyd Whitesell, McGill University
    Chaired by Don McLean, Dean of UofT Faculty of Music
12:15-1:30 Break for lunch

12:45-1:15 Opera in the Park pop-up concert (Weather permitting)
    In partnership with the The Church-Wellesley Village BIA's Music in the Park series.
1:30 “A Grand Opera for the 21st Century: The music and creation of Hadrian”
    Cori Ellison, Dramaturg for Hadrian
    Chaired by Wayne Gooding, opera scholar
2:10 “Sexualities in Ancient Rome”
    Kelly Olson, Western University
    Chaired by Scott Rayter, U of T
2:50 “History of Hadrian’s Rule”
    Andreas Bendlin, UofT
    Chaired by Caryl Clark, UofT
3:25-4:00 Snack break, catered by Fabarnak
4:00 Roundtable of Creative Team and Performers
    Peter Hinton, Director
    Daniel MacIvor, Librettist
    Isaiah Bell, tenor performing the role of Antinous
    Gillian Gallow, Costume Designer
    Moderated by Cori Ellison, Dramaturg
Thank you to our partners!

  U of T Faculty of Music
This event is FREE but require a ticket. Registration opens September 12 at 10 a.m., available online or by calling COC Ticket Services at 416-363-8231.
It is our policy to overbook. In the event of reaching full capacity, your reservation may not guarantee admission. Unclaimed reservations will be released to a standby line 10 minutes prior to the start of the program, at 10:20 a.m. We recommend that you arrive at least 20 minutes before the event start time.

Canadian-American tenor Isaiah Bell’s work is characterized by his “beautiful tenor, command of style, and natural stage presence” (Broadway World) and performances of “haunting beauty... and glowing vocal skill” (New York Times). In October of 2018 he will create the role of Antinous, lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian, in the world premiere of Rufus Wainwright’s Hadrian at the Canadian Opera Company.This season Isaiah makes solo debuts at Carnegie Hall (Haydn’s Creation, Handel’s Messiah), the Caramoor Festival (Handel’s Atalanta with Philharmonia Baroque), the Bethlehem Bach Festival, and the Innsbruck Festival of Early Music. He’ll also return to the National Arts Centre for Britten’s War Requiem under Alexander Shelley, and sing Acis in Acis and Galatea with the San Francisco Chamber Orchestra.
Recently, Isaiah revisited Mark Morris’ production of Britten’s Curlew River at BAM, giving “a performance of exquisite poignancy” (The New York Times) as the Madwoman. He also sang George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony conducted by the composer, Strauss’s Elektra and Bach’s Matthew Passion under Yannick Nézét-Séguin, and Britten’s Owen Wingrave under Mark Wigglesworth at the Aldeburgh and Edinburgh Festivals. With conductor Nicholas McGegan Isaiah has appeared in Acis and Galatea (Mark Morris Dance Group — Lincoln Center), Haydn’s Creation (Nashville Symphony), Messiah (Philharmonia Baroque, Toronto Symphony, Calgary Philharmonic) and Ode for St Cecilia’s Day (Philharmonia). Isaiah is also a composer and librettist. His original solo show, The Book of My Shames, will be produced through Tapestry Opera and Victoria’s Intrepid Theatre in 2019/2020.

Andreas Bendlin
is Professor of Roman History at the University of Toronto, where he teaches a wide range of courses on Roman history and Latin literature, both at the undergraduate and the graduate levels.  He earned a master’s degree in Classical Languages with distinction from the University of Tübingen in Germany; a Ph.D. in Ancient History from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom; and a habilitation in Religious Studies from the University of Erfurt, again in Germany. He has been working at the University of Toronto since 2005. Andreas Bendlin’s research and publications focus on ancient Greek and Roman religion.  He has a particular interest in the pragmatics of religious life in the Roman Mediterranean: How did people’s religious behaviours and their beliefs manifest themselves in daily life?  How did different social groups practice their religion?  He also publishes on Roman social and political history, with a particular emphasis on the life of associations in the Graeco-Roman world.  In that context, he has spent quite some time exploring Hadrian’s deification of Antinous and the latter’s worship by different people and in different parts of the Roman Mediterranean.  His current research includes a large-scale project on mobility, migration, and urbanism in the ancient world, and their impact on religious pluralism in the city of Rome.

 Laurie-Shawn Borzovoy has provided Projection Design for Robert Lepage’s ‘Bluebeard’s Castle/Erwartung’ for the Canadian Opera Company, the COC’s upcoming production of Rufus Wainright’s ‘Hadrian’ directed by Peter Hinton, Ex Machina’s ‘Sommet Technologique’, the Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the National Ballet of Canada, the Canadian Stage Company, the Joffrey Ballet of Chicago, Carbon 14, and many others for over 30 years. Laurie-Shawn’s work has been supported by numerous grants and awards from the Canada Council, the Ontario Arts Council, the Toronto Arts Council, the Laidlaw Foundation, as well as corporate sponsors since 1985. In March of 2011, Laurie-Shawn became an honoured recipient of the Culture Champion designation by the Mayor of Toronto, in part for his ongoing volunteer work as Chair of UrbanArts Toronto. UrbanArts Toronto engages youth and our diverse community in arts programs and leadership skills development.

Caryl Clark is Professor of Music History and Culture at the Faculty of Music, University of Toronto, and a Fellow of Trinity College. Editor of the Cambridge Companion to Haydn (2005), author of Haydn’s Jews: Representation and Reception on the Operatic Stage (Cambridge, 2009) and co-editor of the forthcoming Cambridge Haydn Encyclopedia, her research interests include Enlightenment aesthetics, Haydn, interdisciplinary opera studies, Orpheus, and the politics of musical reception.

Thomas Hampson, America’s foremost baritone, has received many honors and awards for his captivating artistry and cultural leadership. Honored as a Metropolitan Opera Guild “Met Mastersinger” and inducted into both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and Gramophone’s “Hall of Fame”. Hampson is one of the most respected and innovative musicians of our time. With an Opera repertoire of over 80 roles sung in all the major Opera houses of the world, his discography comprises more than 170 albums, which include multiple nominations and winners of the Grammy Award, Edison Award and the Grand Prix du Disque. He received the 2009 Distinguished Artistic Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, and was appointed the New York Philharmonic’s first Artist-in-Residence. In 2010 he was honoured with a Living Legend Award by the Library of Congress, where he has served as Special Advisor to the Study and Performance of Music in America. Furthermore, and he has received the famed Concertgebouw Prize. Hampson was made honorary professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Heidelberg and holds honorary doctorates from Manhattan School of Music, New England Conservatory, Whitworth College and San Francisco Conservatory, as well asbeing an honorary member of London’s Royal Academy of Music. He carries the titles of Kammersänger of the Vienna State Opera and Commandeur dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres of the Republic of France, and was awarded the Austrian Medal of Honour in Arts and Sciences. In 2017 Thomas Hampson received the Hugo-Wolf-Medal from the International Hugo-Wolf-Academy together with his long-time musical companion Wolfram Rieger for their outstanding achievements in the art of song interpretation. Thomas Hampson enjoys a singular international career as an opera singer, recording artist and “ambassador of song,” maintaining an active interest in research, education, musical outreach and technology. Through the Hampsong Foundation, which he founded in 2003, he employs the art of song to promote intercultural dialogue and understanding.

Peter Hinton is a stage director, playwright and dramaturg. Peter is thrilled to direct the world premiere of Hadrian, by Rufus Wainwright and Daniel MacIvor for the Canadian Opera Company, this fall. Recent credits include: Bombay Black, Factory Theatre, All’s Well that ends Well, Shakespeare Company Calgary, Millennial Malcontent, Tarragon Theatre, An Octoroon and Oh, What Lovely War!, Shaw Festival, Funny Girl, Segal Centre, Constellations, Centaur Theatre/Canadian Stage Company, Missing, Pacific Opera, Louis Riel, Canadian Opera Company.  From 2005-2012, Peter was Artistic Director of English Theatre at Canada’s National Arts Centre (2005-2012). Previously, he was associate artist at The Stratford Festival, (2002-08) Dramaturg in Residence at Playwrights Workshop Montreal (1999-2003)and Associate Artistic Director at the Canadian Stage (1990-93). Peter has taught at the National Theatre School, Ryerson University and is currently the professional mentor for the York University/Canadian Stage MFA program in directing.  In 2009, Peter was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Rorik Henrikson specializes in Human Computer Interaction, focusing on connecting the domain of computers with the world of art. Drawing on past experiences from many disciplines, including music and stage design, to different forms of mixed reality and stereography, Rorik brings a unique perspective and understanding to help artists push the boundaries of their respective media.

Linda Hutcheon holds the rank of University Professor Emeritus in the Department of English and the Centre for Comparative Literature at the University of Toronto.  She is author of 9 books on critical theory and contemporary postmodern culture in Canada and around the world. Michael Hutcheon is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. A respirologist specializing in lung transplantation, his scientific research publications encompass a number of areas: pulmonary physiology; bone marrow transplantation; AIDS.  He has also published in the fields of medical education and the semiotics of both cigarette and pharmaceutical advertising. Together, they have done collaborative, interdisciplinary work on the cultural construction of sexuality, gender and disease in opera (Opera: Desire, Disease, Death, 1996), both the real and the represented operatic body (Bodily Charm: Living Opera, 2000), the lessons opera teaches about mortality (Opera: The Art of Dying, 2004), and the later creative life and “late style” of opera composers (Four Last Songs: Aging and Creativity in Verdi, Strauss, Messiaen, and Britten, 2015).

Jake Gow is currently the Associate Technical Director at the Canadian Opera Company. Previously, he has held various technical production roles with Canada’s Ballet Jorgen, the Upper Canada Playhouse and The Juilliard School. Last year, he co-created an immersive events company called Lost&Gone, and began producing theatrical experiences in which audiences are invited to play active roles in uniquely designed worlds.

Daniel MacIvor is originally from Cape Breton and currently divides his time between Toronto and Nova Scotia.  For twenty years Daniel ran da da kamera an international touring company that brought his work extensively through Canada and the US and to Israel, Norway, Holland, Australia and throughout the UK. Daniel has written numerous award-winning theatre productions including See Bob RunNever Swim Alone, A Beautiful View,  His Greatness and his work has been translated into French, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, German and Japanese.  With Daniel Brooks he created the solo shows HouseHere Lies HenryMonsterCul-de-sac , This Is What Happens NextWho Killed Spalding Gray? and most recently Let's Run Away.  Daniel received the Governor General’s Literary Award for Drama for his collection of plays I Still Love You and he was awarded the Siminovitch Prize for Theatre. He is also the recipient of an Obie Award and a GLAAD Award for his play In On It. Upcoming is Daniel's play New Magic Valley Fun Town produced at Toronto's Tarragon Theatre and presented in Winnipeg at Prairie Theatre Exchange and in Halifax at Neptune Theatre.  In development is Here's What It Takes, a new musical with Steven Page at the Stratford Festival. Also a screenwriter Daniel has written the films Marion Bridge, Wilby Wonderful, and is a frequent collaborator with director Bruce McDonald with Trigger and Weirdos (for which he won a Canadian Screen Award for best original screenplay) and the upcoming Winter. 

Don McLean, Dean of the Faculty of Music of the University of Toronto since 2011, was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal through the Canada Council in 2012 for his “exploration of the changing context of music in the academy and society, and innovations in infrastructure development and interdisciplinary teaching and research.” From 2001–2010 he was Dean of the what became the Schulich School of Music of McGill University and Chair of the Board of CIRMMT [‘kermit’], its award-winning Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Music Media and Technology, and was responsible for the development and construction of McGill’s state-of-the-art Music Building project, opened in 2005 and now named for Elizabeth Wirth.  Prof. McLean is a music theorist and musicologist with research interests in late 19th and early 20th century music, Schenkerian theory and analysis, the music of the Second Viennese School (particularly Berg), the emotional impact of music on listeners, and future directions in higher education in the academy and society. Since his return to Toronto and UofT, Dean McLean has expanded Music’s interdisciplinary profile (notably through the establishment of MaHRC [‘mark’], the Music and Health Research Collaboratory, and the Music Technology & Digital Media program), international presence (notably through its role on the EU Council of the Association of European Conservatoires), and infrastructure development (notably through evolving plans for major renovation of music-related spaces in the EJB (Edward Johnson Building) and the 90QP [90 Queen’s Park] Centre for Civilizations, Cultures & Cities [CCCC] project.

Conductor, pianist and vocal coach, Topher Mokrzewski is a steadily rising figure in the world of Canadian opera. He is currently Music Director of the acclaimed Toronto indie opera company Against the Grain Theatre, is Music Director of the Opera in the 21st Century program at Banff Centre and recently completed four seasons as Resident Conductor of Calgary Opera. A graduate of the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio and the Eastman School of Music, he is frequently sought as a soloist, collaborator and music director. He has served on the music staff of the Canadian Opera Company, Opera Atelier, the Chautauqua Institute, Highlands Opera Studio, among others. Recent conducting engagements of note include: Rossini's Il barbiere di Siviglia, South Pacific and The Mikado at Calgary Opera, Vivier's Kopernikus, Gluck’s Orphée, Bernstein’s Candide and Britten's The Rape of Lucretia at Banff Centre and the Toronto Summer Music Festival, Handel's Messiah, Bound (a reimagined updated Handel project) and the critically acclaimed production of A Little Too Cozy with AtG, as well as Corigliano’s Mr. Tambourine Man at the Glenn Gould School. As pianist, Topher recently performed Messiaen's titanic Turangalîla Symphonie with the Calgary Philharmonic. A Toronto native, Mokrzewski has been described by music critic John Terauds as "one of those bright, eager, whip-smart young artists who could give even the most hardened cynic a jolt of optimism about the future of classical music and opera..." and was named one of CBC Music's "Hot 30 Classical Musicians under 30" in 2013.

Michael Hidetoshi Mori is an award-winning stage director and the General Director of Toronto’s Tapestry Opera. In 2016, the CBC named Michael and Tapestry Opera as one of ten artists changing the artistic landscape of Canada. In 2017, for the world premiere production of Rocking Horse Winner, Michael won Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore Award for Outstanding Direction and helped Rocking Horse Winner garner a total of 5 awards at Canada’s most prestigious theatre awards, including best production making it the most awarded show in Toronto in 2017.  As a performer and music director, Michael has been nominated for a Juno Award and was awarded the West Coast Music Award for Classical Music with the Vancouver-based ensemble musica intima.Recent directorial projects include a new production of Rocking Horse Winner and the world premiere of Vinkensport for Opera Saratoga, Il Trittico for West Bay Opera, the world premiere of Benton Roark and Julie Tepperman’s historical comedy Bandits in the Valley for Tapestry Opera, Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera, and a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Columbus.   In 2015 Michael created Tap:Ex, an annual performance exploration that collides opera with other artistic forms. The series has included fully choreographed art-music (Revolutions), synthesizing cut-film, track, turn-table, live soprano and percussion (Tables-Turned), a collaboration with punk band Fu*ked Up (Metallurgy), and an opera-Persian music-hip hop mash-up entitled Forbidden, dealing with gender and sexual politics. 

Dr. Kelly Olson holds an MA and a PhD from the University of Chicago. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Classical Studies at the University of Western Ontario, with cross appointments in the Faculty of Law and in the Dept. of Women’s Studies and Feminist Research. Her research focuses on Roman society, sexuality, and appearance, as well as fashion history more generally, and she is the author of several articles and book chapters on female clothing in Roman antiquity, published in Mouseion, The American Journal of Ancient History, Fashion Theory, and Classical World. Recent chapters and articles on gender and appearance have appeared in publications from Berg, Blackwell, Oxford Univ. Press, Routledge, and The Journal of the History of Sexuality.  Her first book was Dress and the Roman Woman: Self-Presentation and Society, published by Routledge in 2008. Her second, Dress and Masculinity in Roman Antiquity, was published by Routledge in 2017.

Scott Rayter is an Assistant Professor who holds a joint Teaching Stream appointment in English and Sexual Diversity Studies at the University of Toronto. He teaches courses on American literature, histories and theories of sexuality, HIV/AIDS, and contemporary queer art, literature and film in Canada. Last year he completed a nine-year term as Associate Director of the Bonham Centre for Sexual Diversity Studies. He co-curated and authored Queer Can Lit: Canadian Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Literature in English (2008) at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library.  Most recently he curated for the University of Toronto Art Centre, “Particular Voices,” American photographer Robert Giard’s portraits of LGBT writers. Currently he is co-editing with Maureen FitzGerald the second edition of their Queerly Canadian: An Introductory Reader in Sexuality Studies (Canadian Scholar’s Press, 2012; forthcoming 2019). Also forthcoming is his introduction to a new edition of Douglas LePan’s 1964 Governor General’s award-winning novel, The Deserter (Dundurn Press, 2019).

Praised by the New York Times for his “genuine originality,” Rufus Wainwright has established himself as one of the great male vocalists and songwriters of his generation.  The New York-born, Montreal-raised singer songwriter has released seven studio albums, three DVDs, and three live albums, including the fantastic Grammy nominated Rufus Does Judy at Carnegie Hall, which captured his celebrated Judy Garland tribute performance at the London Palladium in 2007, and the album Release The Stars which went Gold in Canada and the U.K.
Wainwright has received Juno Awards for Best Alternative Album in 1999 and 2002 for Rufus Wainwright and Poses, respectively, and nominations for his albums Want Two (2005) and Release the Stars (2008). He was nominated for Songwriter of the Year in 2008 for his Release the Stars album. He also composed the original music for choreographer Stephen Petronio’s work BLOOM which has toured across the country. Musically Rufus has collaborated with artists including Elton John, David Byrne, Boy George, Joni Mitchell, Pet Shop Boys and producer Mark Ronson among others. His most recent collaboration is on the title track of Robbie Williams’ latest album, Swings Both Ways, which was co-written with renowned musician and producer Guy Chambers and sung as a duet between Rufus and Robbie.
In addition to being a celebrated contemporary pop singer, Rufus has made a name for himself in the classical world. His much acclaimed first opera, titled Prima Donna, premiered at the Manchester International Festival in July 2009. The opera was subsequently performed in London at Sadler’s Wells in April 2010, in Toronto at the Luminato Festival in June 2010 and at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House in February 2012. Now fully established as a composer of operas, Rufus has been commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company to write his second opera based on the story of the Roman Emperor Hadrian and Antinous. The new opera will premiere in Toronto in October 2018.

 Lloyd Whitesell, Associate Professor at the Schulich School of Music, McGill University, is a leading figure in the field of queer musicology. He coedited the book Queer Episodes in Music and Modern Identity (2002), which won the Philip Brett Award for best LGBT musicology. His interpretive study of The Music of Joni Mitchell appeared in 2008. He has published articles on queer style and subjectivity in the music of Benjamin Britten and Maurice Ravel, as well as articles on whiteness, camp, film music, and modern opera. His book entitled Wonderful Design: Glamour in the Hollywood Musical was published in August 2018. Currently he is exploring a general theory of queer aesthetics in music.

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