Autumn Leaf Performance has been producing innovative musical works since 1992 and is best known for its stagings of Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's complex works, including Hermes Trismegistos, which used Union Station as its setting.
With new opera as its mandate and an interest in blending contemporary scores with dramatic narratives, Autumn Leaf's shows have always been challenging and occasionally difficult to assimilate.
Now artistic director Thom Sokoloski is offering Down Here On Earth, composed by Rainer Wiens with a libretto by Victoria Ward.
Says Sokolosky of his contemporary chamber opera for five: "The musical language in this opera deconstructs the mythic electric guitar from an overt and ruthless omnivore of silence to one that integrates itself with drama and melody in an orchestral and vocal experience. With the use of chopsticks, pieces of wood, coins and other unusual elements, the normal qualities of the guitar will be uniquely distorted in a symphonic and percussive way...the quality being anywhere between what Brian Eno might do all the way along to Indonesian music. The voice quality used in the compositions are based on extended vocal techniques derived from Roy Hart techniques and will demonstrate the potential of the human voice."
All this in a love story of tragicomic courtship, rekindling passion, brutality and denial, in a world spinning out of control. Down Here On Earth is a new opera meant for a new age and it marks Autumn Leaf Productions' shift into a full-fledged modern opera company.
Down Here On Earth runs March 12 to March 21 at Factory Theatre Mainstage. For tickets call 416-504-9971.
By Mira Friedlander