Joel Ivany


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Stage director Joel Ivany was a recent finalist and prize winner in the 6th European Opera Directing prize for his concept presentation of Bellini’s I Capuleti e i Montecchi alongside designers Camellia Koo and Jason Hand. His most recent projects include directing the world premiere of Gavin Bryars' chamber opera Marilyn Forever with the Aventa Ensemble in Victoria, directing a new production of Les contes d’Hoffmann with Edmonton Opera, reviving Minnesota Opera’s Nabucco, and writing a new contemporary libretto and directing a new adaptation of Le nozze di Figaro, entitled Figaro’s Wedding for Against the Grain Theatre.

He has directed for Against the Grain Theatre, The Canadian Opera Company, Minnesota Opera, The Aventa Ensemble, The Canadian Children’s Opera Company, The Centre for Opera Studies in Italy, The U of T Opera Division, Wilfrid Laurier University, Music Niagara, Opera Nuova and The Banff Centre.  

He is the founder and artistic director of Against the Grain Theatre (AtG), a Toronto based cutting-edge company collective producing intimate, innovative theater. NOW Magazine said, “Against the Grain Theatre proves itself one of the city's most inventive young companies.” He directed their first production of La bohème for which he wrote a new English libretto (www.againstthegraintheatre.com), which has since been used by Opera Columbus and Cowtown Opera in Calgary. 

His past directing credits include such productions as: a touring production of Hansel and Gretel for the Canadian Opera Company; Così fan tutte at The Banff Centre, conducted by David Agler; knotty together, a new work written and composed by Njo Kong Kie, performed in Dublin, Ireland; the world premiere of Dean Burry’s The Secret World of Og and Kander and Ebb's CabaretWith AtG: reviving his sold-out production of La bohèmewhich Opera Canada critiqued, “Ivany’s staging worked improbably well, giving the proceedings a cinéma vérité feel and giving the audience a sense of involvement.”; Kurt Weill’s one act opera, Die sieben Todsünden and Britten’s chilling The Turn of the Screw. He was revival director at Minnesota Opera for Thaddeus Strassberger’s production of Verdi’s Nabucco and associate stage director at Washington National Opera for the same production. His work with Strassberger includes Chabrier’s Le roi malgré lui at both The Bard Summerscape Festival and The Wexford Opera Festival, Ireland. He also served as revival director at the Norwegian National Opera for Strassberger’s production of Le Nozze di Figaro.   

His short film, The King’s Mask was made for the Norwegian National Opera highlighting the various production departments at the company.  

Recent projects include directing new productions of The Rape of Lucretia at Western University, Korngold’s The Silent Serenade at the Royal Conservatory of Music, and a staged/choreographed version of Handel's Messiah. Upcoming productions include Albert Herring at the University of Toronto, and with AtG, Debussy’s opera, Pelléas et Mélisande