Archive | June, 2012

Luminato is Nigh!

7 Jun

Toronto’s first major arts festival of the season is upon us and although one gets a sense from browsing through the program guide that it has been modestly scaled back since its heady first years, there is still a veritable cornucopia of culture of all stripes descending upon the city. Here are three performing arts highlights to look forward to…

Einstein on the Beach: This four act, five hour, contemporary opera from composer Philip Glass and director Robert Wilson is likely the most talked about event of the Festival. Despite its legendary status, it hasn’t been produced in over 20 years so there are more than a few music aficionados salivating at the prospect of catching this visually arresting new production while they can. And in case you are wondering about the title, no, it isn’t a summertime romp with everyone’s favourite German physicist, but rather a rumination on the modern world, technology, and human conflict, with Einstein at the centre.

Luminato Artistic Director Jorn Weisbrodt will give an introductory talk in the lobby before each performance, and following the June 10th performance, researchers from Waterloo’s renowned Perimeter Institute will be on hand to examine the opera’s themes as they relate to scientific genius. Details here.

Playing Cards 1: SPADES: After wowing 2009 Luminato audience with Lipsynch, his epic and carefully woven nine hour (yes, nine hour) theatrical treatise on human communication, superstar director Robert Lepage is back with Playing Cards 1: SPADES. This first part of a four part series is described as an examination of war and conflict, using a deck of cards as its framework. Presented in the round at the cavernous Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre, one can expect Lepage to use the space to great effect in crafting his impeccable theatrical wizardry.

For those who want a chance to hear about Lepage’s creative process from the man himself, there is a separately ticketed talk with the director at the Berkeley St. Theatre (steps away from the Opera Centre) before the Playing Cards performance on June 14th.

La Belle Et La Bête: A Contemporary Retelling: Speaking of theatrical magicians returning to the festival, Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon (of Lemieux Pilon 4D Art), who brought Norman McLaren’s animation to life in Normanat the 2007 festival, are back to mesmerize again with a novel retelling of the ‘Beauty and the Beast’ fable. What sets their production apart is their impressive use of holographic projection that allow the live performers to interact in three dimensional space with ghost-like scenery and characters.

Lemieux and Pilon will also be on hand to speak about their artistic and technological prowess on June 11th at noon at David Pecault Square – and it’s free! Details here.

The above mentioned shows are just a drop in the bucket when it comes to Luminato’s programming. Check out for full listings which include dance, music, visual arts, opera, food, magic, lectures, literary talks, and tons of free events including concerts by K’Naan, Rufus Wainwright, Ohbijou, and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. Happy festing!