The Call of the Light Alex Dobson

Four Reviews of Tapestry Opera Performances of Winter Shorts

I had a terrific two days in Toronto, watching the incredible cast at Tapestry Opera bring three of my short operas to life: Pursuit (libretto by Jessica Murphy Moo), The Call of the Light (libretto by Bobby Theodore), and Opposites Attract (libretto by Phoebe Tsang). Tapestry presented five performances of the scenes between November 30th and December 3rd at the Dancemakers Studio in Toronto’s historic distillery district. Entitled Winter Shorts, the performances garnered four reviews:

Greg Finney wrote for Schmopera:

  • “Tapestry pulls off yet another brilliant feat of new and developing opera here in Canada.”

Matthew Timmermans reviewed the event for Ludwig Van:

  • “This performance presents several glimpses of what the future of opera might look like.”
  • “The show literally began with a bang. Based on the 1984 shooting in the Quebec National Assembly by a Canadian Forces Corporal, the first piece, “The Call of the Light” composed by Iman Habibi and text by Bobby Theodore, started with recorded gunshots as each of the three performers, soprano Jacqueline Woodley, mezzo-soprano Erica Iris, and tenor Keith Klassen, ran in and fell to the ground.”
  • “Two alternating dissonant chords on the piano, effectively illustrat[ed] the shock of the event. The piano was layered by the voices of the injured bystanders, and their repeated text represented their shock and desperation.”
  • “[In Pursuit], Habibi composes the barista’s fantasy of love operatically, but the reality that she is too shy to speak to the object of her affection, appropriately falls from opera to spoken theatre.”
  • “Habibi described [Opposites Attract] as opera in which nothing happens on stage, rather the events occur through what is recalled, evoking a neo-Wagnerian concept of opera.”

Keira Grant from Mooney on Theatre:

  • “Winter Shorts is an exciting tasting menu of what’s new and up-coming in Toronto opera.”

John Gilks from Opera Ramblings, who sadly misspells my name as Imam throughout:

  • “It started very strongly with a scene, The Call of the Light (Iman Habibi/Bobby Theodore) based on the 1984 attack on the Quebec National Assembly.  The combination of an assault rifle carrying camo clad Alex Dobson , the rest of the cast (Jacquie Woodley, Keith Klassen, Erica Iris) writhing on the floor and dissonant extended piano from Michael Shannon was genuinely disturbing.  Having a gun pointed straight at you from a few feet away doesn’t happen often at the opera.”
  • “intriguing and somewhat frustrating with plenty of humour and some food for thought.”
The Call of the Light Alex Dobson

Alex Dobson in The Call of the Light, Photo by: Dahlia Katz