Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century.


Program dates: July 6, 2014 - August 3, 2014

Application deadline: January 30, 2014

A partnership between The Banff Centre, Against the Grain Theatre, and the Canadian Opera Company

Program Information

Faculty: Joel Ivany - Artistic Director / Stage Director, Against the Grain Theatre, Christopher Mokrzewski - Music Director, Against the Grain Theatre, Alexander Neef - General Director, Canadian Opera Company, Johannes Debus - Music Director, Canadian Opera Company, Nina Draganic - Artistic Liaison / Director of Programming, Canadian Opera Company, Stephen Hargreaves - Associate Music Director, Russell Braun - Baritone, Jenna Douglas - Répétiteur, Daniel MacIvor - Performance Practice, Judith Forst - Voice, Timothy Noble - Voice, Patrick Du Wors - Performance Designer, Jason Hand - Lighting Designer ,

Open Space: Opera in the 21st Century

A partnership between The Banff Centre, Against the Grain Theatre, and the Canadian Opera Company

Open Space is a one-of-a-kind performance-based collaborative training experience for emerging opera professionals that truly challenges the conventions of opera performance, production, and design. 

The program will accept 8 young professionals for a 4-week intensive residency devoted to practical skill extension and development, while participating in Uncle John, a modern interpretation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni. This adaptation will feature a new English libretto written by Against the Grain Theatre's artistic director Joel Ivany.  

The focus of Open Space is to impart the skills of tomorrow to the young opera singers of today. The stellar faculty is comprised of Against the Grain artists and internationally recognized professionals from a variety of backgrounds and disciplines.  The program features the unique opportunity for participants to meet and work with Alexander Neef, general director of the Canadian Opera Company and Johannes Debus, music director of the Canadian Opera Company, during two days of concentrated sessions.

Each week will balance rehearsals, regular performance opportunities in the community, and collaborative skill exchange between faculty and artists.

Meet #UncleJohn (Don Giovanni)

He's modern, sexy, and confident. Known to his friends as the suave "Uncle John", his ability to seduce many conquests with charm and good looks is unrivalled.  He's off to a wedding - a setting that always allows him to work his magic. But this particular wedding presents a new challenge: Uncle John decides to go after the bride.

Against the Grain Theatre’s #UncleJohn will be a modern, English adaptation of Mozart’s Don Giovanni set in Banff, 2014. Against the Grain Theatre productions are well known for being intimate, visceral, and always engaging. This promises to be no different.

Search #UncleJohn to follow us on twitter. Read about the cast & crew, watch videos and find out more about the production #UncleJohn on Schmopera.

The roles will include:

  • Don Giovanni - baritone
  • Leporello - bass-baritone
  • Il Commendatore - bass
  • Donna Anna - soprano
  • Don Ottavio - tenor
  • Donna Elvira - soprano
  • Masetto - bass
  • Zerlina - soprano

Get tickets for #UncleJohn at The Banff Centre Box Office in person, by phone (403-762-6301), or online

More about Against the Grain Theatre

Against the Grain is a cutting-edge Canadian theatre collective dedicated to presenting classical and contemporary musical repertoire in innovative ways and unconventional spaces. Comprising Joel Ivany, Christopher Mokrzewski, Caitlin Coull, Miriam Khalil, Lucia Cesaroni, Nina Draganic, and Cecily Carver at its core, the wider but tightly-knit Against the Grain community includes musicians, actors, dancers, visual artists, photographers and arts professionals.

Find out more about Against the Grain Theatre at:, follow them on twitter @atgtheatre, and like them on Facebook at

Audition Tour

The Banff Centre will be holding live auditions in Toronto and Vancouver between February 18 – 21, 2014.

This program is a partnership between The Banff Centre, Against the Grain Theatre, and the Canadian Opera Company



Above photo: Miriam Khalil and Teiya Kasahara in Against the Grain Theatre's Figaro's Wedding. Photo: Darryl Block.

All programs, faculty, dates, fees, and offers of financial assistance are subject to change. Program fee subject to applicable taxes. Non-refundable fees and deposits will be retained upon cancellation. Any other fees are refunded at the discretion of The Banff Centre.