While heading to work on the fourth floor in building #58 in the Distillery District, I met up with Amber who works on the third floor of the same building. My office mates always wondered if the people below us could hear our loud footsteps walking back and fourth above their heads? And we worried about other noises too. But after discussing this noise factor in the shared building space with Amber, I found out that she works at Tapestry New Opera Works as the outreach and education director. I inquired to find out more. She was kind enough to schedule a time when I could come in to meet with Tapestry staff to find out more about their role in the opera arts community. I walked up to my fourth floor office space and was more aware of my foot steps.
During my visit downstairs with Amber I was introduced to Anna Mathew the marketing and communications director. I soon discovered that Tapestry New Opera Works is a non profit charitable organization dedicated to the creation, development and performance of new opera through it’s unique and highly collaborative work process. I was intrigued to find out more. They provide new opera work, outreach and education opportunities for children and adults. Under the leadership of Wayne Strongman, the managing artistic director, Tapestry engages the hearts and minds of artists and audiences on subjects relevant to contemporary society. This new opera in Canada is comprised of creators, developers and performers, all collaborators in telling stories that apparently need to be told. Now entering their 31st season they house, in the intimacy of their own Ernest Balmer Studio in the Distillery District, 5 events in the 2010/s011 season. Ticket prices are reasonable ($25 reg. and $20 students and arts workers) and the performances sound really interesting. Concerts and workshop performances are comprised of titles such as ‘The Tapestry Songbook’ and ‘The Enslavement and Liberation of Oksana G.’ Tapestry even have a delightful new opera, in collaboration with Words in Motion, for kids all over Ontario called, ‘Get Stuffed’. ‘Get Stuffed’ is a opera that has visited schools in the GTA and has even performed three free public performances hosted by the Distillery Historic District in Trinity Square. It is about making healthy food choices. A topic I think we could all consider.
Tapestry New Opera Works are trying to build a stronger Opera community, and are also a proud founding member of Creative Trust: Working Capital for the Arts. Tapestry receives some of their grant funding through the Canada Council for the Arts, Ontario Arts Council and Toronto Arts Council. I shouldn’t forget to mention they have corporate and individual donors that help them support create, develop and perform unique new opera. I had to smile and chuckle when I saw some sock puppets in the office and found out they were a part of the production of same sex sock puppet opera. I am liking the sounds of that performance. It definitely sounds like a fun opera experience.