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Whose Opera is it Anyway? De qui est cet opéra ? July 7 juillet

Saturday, July 7, 2018 | 10:00 EDT

$10 – $70

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Whose Opera Is It Anyway?  All Ages Edition!


Whose Opera is it Anyway?

Opera is one of the oldest musical forms in the world, combining music and theatre, but it can also be fun and funny!  Inspired by the popular TV show, “Whose Opera Is It Anyway?” is a hilarious combination of opera and comedy where professional opera singers will sing about the craziest and most ridiculous things!  Our singers might make an opera out of fortune cookie messages, commercial jingles or even turn a children’s story into one!


This show is for everyone, and no previous knowledge of opera is necessary to appreciate this unique comedy-opera experience featuring Canada’s only improv opera troupe.  You’ll learn more about opera and have fun doing it!


Creator and Director:

Alaina Viau



Craig Logue


Musical Director:

Natasha Fransblow



Gregory Finney



Amanda Cogan

Gillian Grossman

Rachel Krehm

Erin Stone

Michael York


Cast and Creative Team Bios:


Alaina Viau – Creator and Director


Alaina is the founder and Artistic Director of indie opera company Loose Tea Music Theatre where she collaborates with DJ’s, projection artists and filmmakers to produce genre breaking productions.  With them she has directed re-imagined contemporary versions of Dissociative Me (Gounod’s Faust), Love in the Age of AutoCorrect (Mozart/Stravinsky) and La Tragedie de Carmen (Bizet).  Currently she is leading a re-focus of Bizet’s Carmen as #YesAllWomen that discusses current social issues like gender equality, class society and the impacts of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Alaina developed a monthly series with Carly Heffernan from Second City called “Whose Opera is it Anyway?” where the games from the popular show inspire similar games for improvised opera. This year Loose Tea is partnering with Toronto Summer Music Festival on a fully staged version of L’Histoire du Soldat at Koerner Hall in July.

Loose Tea was invited to perform for the Rhubarb Festival 2016 with Buddies in Bad Times Theatre with Trance Symphony No.5, a Trance/Classical Dance experience of Beethoven’s popular Symphony no.5 with live orchestra and trance DJ.

Last year Alaina directed and designed HausMusik for Tafelmusik Baroque Chamber Orchestra and SOPAC’s inaugural season presenting Suor Angelica and Pagliacci to critical acclaim.  She also directed/designed L’isola Disabitata for Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra in Ottawa for their 40th anniversary, and was apprentice director for Joel Ivany at the Canadian Opera Company with Carmen.  Coming up in 2018, Alaina will be assistant director and production manager for a new production of West Side Story in the US, touring Whose Opera is it Anyway, and directing/designing Cosi fan Tutte for Muskoka Opera in August.

She has apprenticed with Atom Egoyan at the COC’s Die Walkure in 2015,  and assisted under Ashlie Corcoran at the Royal Conservatory of Music for Don Giovanni in 2013.

Craig Logue – Producer

Craig is a not-for-profit administrator, fundraiser, event producer, designer and photographer with over 20 years’ experience.  He has worked on events big and small in the Toronto and Hamilton areas, including the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, and co-created a children’s festival in Toronto and a blues festival in Hamilton.  He has recently begun working with Bad Dog Comedy Theatre, leading to “Whose Opera Is It Anyway?” becoming a regular monthly show.

He has studied Theatre Production and Arts Marketing at Ryerson University and Special Events Management at George Brown College, and is a graduate of Durham College’s Sports & Entertainment Management program.

Craig is very excited to work on and help develop Canada’s first-ever improv opera show!

Natasha Fransblow – Music Director


Natasha has enthusiastically carved her space in Toronto’s classical music community as a sought-after vocal collaborator and coach.  A graduate of Dalhousie University (B.Mus.) and the University of Manitoba (M.Mus.), she held a faculty position as Undergraduate Vocal Coach at the U of M in Winnipeg and worked closely with their Opera Studies department.  As a music director Natasha has worked with Summer Opera Lyric Theatre (Martha), Toronto Operetta Theatre (HMS Pinafore), and the Halifax Summer Opera Festival (Rodelinda).  Natasha has a keen and active interest in exploring and pushing the boundaries of opera performance within the independent opera community.  She joined MYOpera as music director in 2014 and has since had the pleasure of directing and performing Hänsel & Gretel, Béatrice et Bénédict, The Rape of Lucretia, and L’italiana in algeri to rave reviews.  She recently joined Abridged Opera (Windsor, ON) for their 2017 production of Turn of the Screw.  Natasha is thrilled to be continuing her exploration of improvisation, composition, and multidisciplinary collaboration as the Music Director for Loose Tea Music Theatre’s ongoing endeavours: Carmen, re-imagined and “Whose Opera is it Anyway?”.  In addition to her involvement in opera, she is also a frequent recitalist and choral singer.

Gregory Finney – Host


Dora-Award winning performer Gregory Finney is a regular fixture in Toronto’s Opera scene. Performing with companies like Loose Tea Music Theatre (La Tragedie de Carmen; Autocorrect Operas), Against the Grain (La boheme, Figaro’s Wedding, Messiah), Toronto Operetta Theatre (Die Fledermaus, The Merry Widow, HMS Pinafore), and many others.  Equally at home on the Musical Theatre stage Gregory’s been seen in Beauty and the Beast, Footloose: The Musical, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and the Canadian Premiere of Jerry Springer: The Opera at Hart House.  Greg is also a regular contributor and critic to the wildly popular opera blog Schmopera as well as La Scena Musicale based out of Montreal.  Greg is excited to be returning (somewhat) to his theatre school roots hosting Whose Opera is it Anyway?

Amanda Cogan – Performer


Praised as “a captivating visual and vocal actress,” (Ludwig van Toronto) Soprano Amanda Cogan holds a Master of Music in Voice Performance with honors from the University of Toronto, where she graduated under the tutelage of renowned Canadian soprano Wendy Nielsen. She recently completed an intensive and showcase with MYOpera in Toronto, where she performed excerpts by Puccini, Weill, Lehar and Rossini. This past summer Miss Cogan was a member of the opera studio at the Centre for Opera Studies in Sulmona, Italy, where she sang Donna Anna in Mozart’s Don Giovanni. She is an alumnus of the distinguished Aspen Opera Theatre Centre at the Aspen Music Festival and School, where she performed on the stage of the Wheeler Opera House in Tchaikovsky’s Eugene Onegin. She was also featured in the Wheeler Opera House scenes performance series, as Catherine in Bolcom’s, a View from the Bridge, and as Ann Trulove in Stravinsky’s, Rake’s Progress. Ms. Cogan is also a graduate of the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera, where she sang the title role in Puccini’s Suor Angelica, and the St. Andrew’s Opera Workshop where she performed as Giulietta in an excerpt of Bellini’s i Capuleti e i Montecchi. As a member of U of T’s opera undergraduate program she appeared as Countess Almaviva in UofT’s excerpted performance of Mozart’s Le Nozze di Figaro, and continued her development of the role as a member of the Opera Studio at the Centre for Opera Studies in Italy. Equally inspired by oratorio, in December of 2016 Miss Cogan made her professional symphony debut with the Mississauga Symphony Orchestra in Handel’s Messiah at the Living Arts Centre.  Currently, you can catch Amanda performing regularly throughout Toronto as a member of Loose Tea Music Theatre’s “Whose Opera is It Anyway?” which dedicates itself to performing completely improvised comedic operatic scenes in some of Toronto’s most iconic comedy venues.

Amanda developed her improv chops as a graduate of Second City Toronto’s program, and is currently a writing student there.

Gillian Grossman – Performer


Praised for her charming stage presence and vibrant vocal timbre, soprano Gillian Grossman has earned success both at home and abroad.  She recently debuted with the Georgian Bay Concert Choir as the soprano soloist in Mendelssohn’s Elijah.  On the concert stage, Gillian was featured as the soprano soloist in Fauré’s Requiem with Masterworks of Oakville, under the baton of Charles Demuynck.  She has appeared as the guest soloist with the Bluebridge Festival, Ardeleana, Aradia Ensemble, Etobicoke Centennial Choir, Arcady, the Boris Brott Festival, and La Chorale Cantabile.

A long-time member of Shoestring Opera, Gillian has performed in Shoestring’s productions of Hansel and Gretel as Gretel, A Schoolyard Carmen, and Shoestring Magic Flute throughout the GTA.  Other premiers include Kamouraska with Opera in Concert, in which she created the role of Aunt Angelique for both the workshop and performance.  Gillian was equally honoured to take part in both the workshop and eventual performances of R. Murray Schafer’s The Children’s Crusade, in conjunction with Soundstreams and the Luminato Festival.  Most recently, Gillian performed the role of one of the angels in the Veretski Pass opera, Lilith, The Night Demon as part of its Canadian premier at the Toronto Ashkenaz Festival.  Favourite operatic roles include Giulietta, Gretel, Almirena, Laetitia, Despina, Pamina, and Johanna.

A graduate of McGill University, Gillian holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Vocal Performance. While at McGill, she was the recipient of both the Martha Schiller and Margaret Kalil Awards and performed such roles as Emmie (Albert Herring), Ida (Die Fledermaus), and Fiordiligi (Cosí fan tutte).

Erin Stone – Performer


Erin has been an active performer in Toronto for the past eleven years known for her rich voice, comedic wit and dramatic sensitivity.  Some of Erin’s opera Credits include, Cookie in Talk Opera, Opera 5, Donna Anna in Don Giovanni, Opera by Request, Pamina in Die Zauberflöte, TSOW, Contessa in Le Nozze Di Figaro at Opera Nuova and UWOpera, Rosalinde in Die Fledermaus, with Rubato Casual Opera and UWOpera, First Witch in Dido & Aeneas, Summer Opera Lyric Theatre, Iolanthe, Toronto Operetta Theatre, Beatrice in Beatrice Chancey, Queen Of Puddings Songs And Scenes Programme, Otello, Opera Lyra, Cis in Albert Herring, Pamina & Giuletta in The Opera Gala, and Min & Grace in The Midnight Court, UWOpera.  Solo symphonic performances include Handel’s Messiah and Saint-Saëns Christmas Oratorio with the ISO.  As a winner of the Concerto Competition at Western Erin performed Sieben Frühe Liederby Alban Berg, and Symphony #4 by Mahler with the UWOSO.  Erin was a winner in the London Opera Guild scholarship competition, won first place at the NATS Ontario Chapter Auditions for the graduate and young professional category and was a finalist in the London Music Scholarship Foundation competition.

Erin Stone completed her Master of Music at the University of Western Ontario where she studied with Christiane Riel.

Michael York – Performer


Baritone Michael York is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and sang and taught in Illinois before becoming a resident of the Toronto area.  Known for his strong voice and dramatic presence, he has recently sung the title role of Mephistopheles in Loose Tea’s acclaimed transadaption of Gounod’s Faust.  Critic Ian Ritchie in Opera Going Toronto wrote “York’s delectable, smoky instrument drips with delicious malevolence, poised, commanding and irresistible.”  Other recent roles include Macbeth in Verdi’s Macbeth and Renato in Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera, both in concert with Coro Verdi in Toronto. He has also succeeded in lighter fare with roles in Toronto Operetta Theatre’s premier production of Earnest, the Importance of Being, and Sgt. Malone in Wish Opera’s production of Rosemarie. Other roles in the Toronto area have included the titular Rigoletto with Opera York, the Count in The Marriage of Figaro with the Guelph Symphony, and dual roles in the premiere of Andrew Ager’s setting of Frankenstein.  He can be heard on Sinfonia di Camera’s recording of the opera Oedipe by George Enescu on Albany records.  Michael is also a member of the Canadian Opera Company chorus.

In concert, Michael was recently featured in Pax Christi’s celebrated North American premiere of Hubert Parry’s oratorio, Judith, which was professionally filmed and can be seen on YouTube. He has also appeared as a soloist with the Toronto Mendelssohn Choir, Chorus Niagara, the Elora Festival, Arcady, the Brott Music Festival, Choralis Camerata and the Bach Artists of Champaign-Urbana in Illinois.


De qui est cet opéra ? Spectacle pour tous 

Des chanteurs professionnels réalisent l’union désopilante de l’opéra et de la comédie en improvisant sur les sujets les plus loufoques ou bien en exécutant un opéra célèbre en moins de trois minutes. Que vous soyez déjà féru d’opéra ou n’en n’ayez jamais vu, c’est égal, vous ne voudrez pas rater ce spectacle unique, mettant en vedette la seule troupe d’opéra canadienne se consacrant à l’improvisation.

Conjuguant la musique et le théâtre, l’opéra est une des formes musicales les plus anciennes, mais il peut aussi amuser et être drôle. S’inspirant de l’émission de télévision « Whose Opera Is it Anyway ? » (De qui est cet opéra ?) des chanteurs professionnels réunissent de façon désopilante l’opéra et la comédie en improvisant sur les sujets les plus loufoques ou ridicules !  Nos chanteurs peuvent ainsi créer un opéra à partir de messages contenus dans des biscuits chinois, de ritournelles commerciales ou de contes pour enfants.

Ce spectacle convient à tous, et il n’est nul besoin d’avoir des connaissances en matière d’opéra pour prendre plaisir à cette expérience unique mettant en vedette la seule troupe d’opéra canadienne se consacrant à l’improvisation. Vous apprendrez à connaître l’opéra tout en vous amusant !


Créateur et directeur

Alaina Viau



Craig Logue


Directrice musicale

Natasha Fransblow



Gregory Finney



Amanda Cogan

Gillian Grossman

Erin Stone

Michael York


Saturday, July 7, 2018
$10 – $70


Music and Beyond


Tabaret Hall / Pavillon Tabaret
550 Cumberland St
Ottawa, Ontario  K1N 6N8 Canada
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