Music Director: Dáirine Ní Mheadhra; Producer: Nathalie Bonjour
Toronto’s award winning Queen of Puddings Music Theatre burst onto the arts scene in 1995 with its forward-thinking, absorbing, fantastical approach to the tradition we know as classical opera. Founded by musicians John Hess and Dáirine Ní Mheadhra, the company creates, develops and produces original Canadian chamber opera/music-theatre works. Spectacular company successes include Beatrice Chancy (1999), the first opera about Canadian slavery (music James Rolfe, libretto George Elliott Clarke). The opera premiered in Toronto and subsequently toured across Canada and was broadcast coast to coast on CBC television. The Midnight Court (2005) based on the famous Gaelic poem of the same name (music Ana Sokolović, libretto adaptation Paul Bentley) premiered in Toronto and in the 2005 year end critics’ picks, the production was chosen as one of the Top 10 shows of 2005 in all genres by The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star and Eye Weekly. Queen of Puddings made its international debut in 2006 when it toured The Midnight Court to the Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, Covent Garden in London. This was the first invitation extended to a Canadian opera company and a new Canadian opera to perform at this prestigious venue. Queen of Puddings continues to tour internationally. Love Songs (music Ana Sokolović, selected love poems), an opera for one female singer, premiered in March 2008 in Toronto and has since toured in 2009 to Montréal, Ljubljana, Paris, and The International New Music Biennale in Zagreb where it was declared best production of the festival, and in June 2010 again to Paris and to the renowned Holland Festival in Amsterdam. Love Songs tours to Banff and Vancouver in 2011. In 2009, the company presented Inês (music James Rolfe, libretto Paul Bentley), an opera inspired by Portuguese Fado, and in 2010 Beauty Dissolves in a Brief Hour (music Pierre Klanac, Fuhong Shi, John Rea), a Chinese Mandarin, English and Medieval French language triptych which premiered to audience and critical acclaim and begins touring in 2011. Scheduled for a world premiere in June 2011 at Toronto’s Canadian Stage Berkeley Theatre is Svadba—The Wedding (music Ana Sokolović), an intoxicating tour de force for six female opera singers a cappella, sung in Serbian with English surtitles. Future projects in development include new works commissioned from composers Chris Paul Harman and Pierre Klanac.