Anna Theodosakis directed The Rape of Lucretia (2016) and shares her busy and rewarding summer experiences!
My motto this summer was “you’re only young once”. It’s every young artists dream to book back-to-back contracts and this summer I had the immense privilege to work on four productions in under three months in three different provinces. It was intense but I wouldn’t have traded it for anything, even a day off.
The first stop was beautiful Banff, Alberta. Emphasis on the beautiful! I joined the Banff Centre’s Opera in the 20th Century five-week program, run by Joel Ivany and Topher Mokrzewski of Against the Grain Theatre, as the apprentice stage director. I had the opportunity to assistant direct Paul Curran’s Rape of Lucretia and work with some amazing emerging artists that are going far. Curran taught me so much in one day let alone the entire five weeks. His incredible Tosca is coming back to the COC this spring so get your tickets!
I was also given my own show to direct, a staged chamber concert called A Room with a View. I absolutely love art song and the process was very freeing. I got to collaborate with apprentice lighting designer Chantal Labonte and apprentice designer Beyata Hackborn. It was so rewarding to work with artists of my generation.
Beyond rehearsals and taking in the multi-disciplinary exhibits at the Banff Centre, I was able to experience nature and go on a few inspiring, if not muddy, hikes.
The next stop was Toronto for three days where I had the honour to adapt Curran’s Lucretia for the Toronto Summer Music Festival at the Winter Garden Theatre. We had fun mounting the show in just a couple days at the incredibly gorgeous theatre. I loved having the orchestra amongst the action on stage.
I unfortunately could not see the performance because that morning (at a godforsaken hour) I was on my way to Winnipeg to direct Manitoba Underground Opera’s The Magic Flute…Retold. Like Banff, Winnipeg was a new city for me although with very different terrain. The performers I worked with were truly “friendly Manitobans” and brimming with exciting talent. Shout out to director Jacquie Loewen for being the most giving and charming host. We produced our version of Mozart’s classic on the façade of the grand Le Cathedrale Boniface, which was the best set you could ever dream of.
You might think I’m done but there’s one more show!
After watching Flute open I hopped back on a plane to mount Eugene Onegin for the Muskoka Opera Festival. My brave team and I (featuring four MYOpera Alumni) rehearsed Onegin in May before we all scattered across North America for summer programs. We reconvened in Toronto for a couple days to review the show before taking it on the road. Admittedly, and somewhat to our surprise, it was a huge success!
With the final chords of Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece my summer came to a close. I am so grateful for the experiences I had but especially for the beautiful and generous people I met. I hope our paths will cross again soon!
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