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national ballet of canada

The National Ballet’s Carmen Turns Up the Heat

The National Ballet of Canada's Carmen is a sultry offering for summer (photo: Sian Richards)

The National Ballet of Canada’s Carmen is a sultry offering for summer (photo: Sian Richards)

JUNE 5 TO 16  The summer heat is nothing in comparison to the erotic intensity of Carmen. This month, the National Ballet of Canada brings back to the stage the tale of a strong-willed, independent woman and the man who is both drawn to and terrified by her sexuality. Incorporating the timeless music of Rodion Shchedrin and Georges Bizet, this modern production by choreographer Davide Bombana is a full-length version of his original one-act ballet—first seen in Toronto in 2009—expanding on its unflinching carnality and heartrending tragedy. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $180; call 416-345-9595 or click here for showtimes and to buy.  —Marina Smart

The National Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet Adds Romance to Your March Break

National Ballet of Canada's Romeo and Juliet

The National Ballet of Canada’s Romeo and Juliet (photo: Bruce Zinger)

MARCH 12 TO 17  Literature’s most famous tale of star-crossed lovers is beautifully—and tragically—interpreted through music and movement as the National Ballet of Canada presents Romeo and Juliet. The company’s production premiered in 2011 to great acclaim; it’s back by popular demand, giving longtime patrons and newcomers alike another chance to see Russian choreographer Alexei Ratmansky’s blend of classical and contemporary steps, set to Prokofiev’s vivid and timeless score. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $239; call 416-345-9595 or visit the National Ballet’s website for showtimes and tickets.  —Anna Marszalek

Weekend Roundup: November 9 to 11

The Little Years offers period drama at Tarragon Theatre

Friday, November 9
Starting this weekend, audiences can hearken back to The Little Years courtesy of Tarragon Theatre and award-winning Toronto-based playwright John Mighton. The critically acclaimed drama story follows a young woman in the 1950s as she struggles with the transition from life as a precocious teen to the harsher reality of adulthood.

Celebrating the art of voice and story, the Festival of Oral Literatures showcases a wide variety of talented poets, theatre artists, storytellers, spoken-word artists and even beatbox performers this weekend at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Tonight, the pay-what-you-can “House Made of Stories” program features Jan Blake, Susan Coyne, Ron Evans and more.

Check out all the hilarity as the Just For Laughs Comedy Tour comes chuckling into Toronto to tackle the theme of relationships—everything from marriage to dating to family, plus all the humorous complications in between. An all-star cast of comics includes Debra DiGiovanni,Saturday Night Live alum Jim Breuer, host John Heffron and more. Don’t miss all the hysterical insights tonight at Massey Hall.

Alice dances down the rabbit hole again (photo: Cylla von Tiedemann)

Saturday, November 10
Tumble down the rabbit hole once again as the National Ballet of Canada brings its hugely successful Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland back to the Four Seasons Centre. Opening tonight, the production combines classical dance with imaginative design to transport the entire family to a magical new world.

The Toronto Raptors one-win and four-loss record to start the current NBA season belies the team’s promise. Will point guard Kyle Lowry be back in the lineup after suffering an ankle sprain earlier in the week? Can Andrea Bargnani rediscover his shooting stroke? Can the team put together four full quarters of effort and pull off its second victory? Find out tonight as the dinos take on the Philadelphia 76ers at the Air Canada Centre.

Often compared to other Canadian greats like Ron Sexsmith and Rufus Wainwright, Toronto-based singer-songwriter, arranger and producer Royal Wood tonight swings by the historic Winter Garden Theatre. A soulful crooner known for heart-wrenching ballads, Wood changes his tune slightly on his new album, which offers more up-tempo tunes.

Mats Sundin takes part in the Hockey Hall of Fame’s induction weekend festivities

Sunday, November 11
The NHL season may be on hold, but there’s no reason you can’t get your fix. This weekend, the Hockey Hall of Fame gets set to welcome Pavel Bure, Adam Oates, Joe Sakic and Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin as its newest members. Today’s Induction Weekend celebrations include a Q&A session with the honourees, followed by the Legends Classic game, featuring top players from years gone by.

With over 75 speakers and 200 exhibitors, the Whole Life Expo is the largest event of its kind in Canada. Shop for the latest in health and beauty products, explore alternative and natural approaches to medicine and care, and get great advice on living an eco-friendly life!

Today marks your final opportunity to check out the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. Fun for the whole family, the 90th annual event combines a farm and livestock show with an equestrian competition, plus delicious food, giant vegetable displays, dog shows and more.

 

 

Hot Date: The National Ballet’s Very Important Date

(photo: Bruce Zinger)

NOVEMBER 10 T0 25  Back by popular demand, the National Ballet of Canada combines classical dance and sheer imagination in its production of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, which first wowed Toronto audiences in 2011. Created by British choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, this adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s classic children’s tale also features innovative set design and costumes that bring the beloved characters to life. Don’t be afraid to tumble down the rabbit hole—this performance transports the entire family to a magical new world. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $239; call 416-345-9595 or visit here for showtimes and to purchase tickets.  —Ana Taveira

Hot Art: Designing the National Ballet

The Sugar Plum Fairy's costume from The Nutcracker (photo by Setareh Sarmadi)

JULY 11 TO SEPTEMBER 2 Go behind the scenes of one of the country’s foremost performing arts groups as the Design Exchange presents its timely exhibition, 60 Years of Designing the Ballet. In celebration of the National Ballet of Canada’s diamond anniversary, this engaging retrospective illuminates the numerous, sometimes underrated elements—building sets, fashioning costumes, painting backdrops and more—that go into staging the company’s classical and contemporary dance productions, using archival materials and insightful commentary from the creators themselves. Supporting this primary show is the Tutu Project, which presents the ballet’s iconic symbol through historic pieces as well as
original designs.

Weekend Roundup: June 15 to 17

Friday: See the National Ballet's Chroma and more (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Friday, June 15
Audiences and critics have been raving about the National Ballet of Canada‘s triple bill of Chroma, Song of a Wayfarer, and Elite Syncopations. Make sure you get to this evening’s performance—the works offer a dynamic exploration of the kinesthetics of the human body.

Rain or shine (and really, it looks as though the weather will be wonderful), the Toronto Wine & Spirit Festival enlivens Sugar Beach tonight and all day Saturday. Sample hundreds of international beverages, taste dishes by local chefs, attend fun and informative seminars and enjoy an evening full of entertainment on one of Toronto’s chic urban oases.

The NXNE festival has riffing away all week long; this weekend’s free outdoor concerts at Yonge-Dundas Square offer an excellent wrap-up to the party. This evening, veteran music icon Matthew Good takes the stage, while psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips enchant the crowd on Saturday night. The festival comes to a close on Sunday with hip-hop pioneers Raekwon and Ghosface Killah of Wu Tang Clan. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: June 8 to 10

Friday: Witness Hamlet's balletic vengeance (photo by Aleksandar Antonijevic)

Friday, June 8
The National Ballet of Canada has drawn crowds for its adaption of Shakespeare’s most famous tragedy, Hamlet. Don’t miss your opportunity to see this moving yet visceral performance—it’s on stage at the Four Seasons Centre until Sunday only.

The annual Luminato festival of creativity opens tonight and hits high gear through the weekend with a number of events: watch as the rules of conventional opera are broken and gloriously remade in Philip Glass’s Einstein on the Beach; or enjoy a contemporary retelling of the classic fairy tale La Belle et la Bête, with actors interacting with projected images in a virtual reality setting.

If you’re looking for a place to test out handcrafted cocktails then The Drinks Show is for you. The interactive cocktail event showcases Toronto’s hottest  emerging and established bartenders mixing some of their favourite drinks in a chic Liberty Village venue. (more…)

Hot Date: The National Ballet of Canada Serves Up Royal Vengeance

photo courtesy of the Stuttgart Ballet

JUNE 1 TO 10 The elegance of dance is contrasted with a story of bitter angst and revenge in the North American premiere of Hamlet by the National Ballet of Canada. Choreographer Kevin O’Day adapted Shakespeare’s tour-de-force about a Danish prince’s bloody plan to reclaim his murdered father’s throne, presenting it with stunning set pieces and a rousing score by John King. Be sure to arrive early to the performance—guests can attend a pre-show talk to gain further insight into the story and the production itself. Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, $25 to $234; call 416-355-9595 or click here for showtimes and tickets.

Weekend Roundup: March 23 to 25

Friday: Tracy Morgan brings the funny

Friday, March 23
For one night only (tonight, obviously), Tracy Morgan brings his slightly off-base brand of comedy to the Sony Centre. Edgy laughs come fast and furious as the 30 Rock and former Saturday Night Live cast member presents his stand-up act as part of the Canadian International Comedy Festival.

Contemporary art gallery The Power Plant kicks off its 25th-anniversary celebrations tonight with the opening of two exhibitions, Kerry Tribe’s Speak, Memory, and Dissenting Histories: 25 Years of The Power Plant, the latter of which offers a retrospective of the gallery’s past quarter-century.

Legendary axeman John Hammond sings (and plays) the blues this evening in Toronto. After five decades on the road—he’s performed with everyone from Jimi Hendrix to Eric Clapton—and more than 30 albums under his belt, Hammond settles in at Hugh’s Room to play selections from his latest release, Rough and Tough. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: March 9 to 11

Friday: The piano at Hugh's Room is sure to get a workout

Friday, March 9
Be at Hugh’s Room when an all-star cast of musicians perform the work of songwriting great Randy Newman. The wit and lyrical brilliance that infused songs by Etta James, Tom Jones and Joe Cocker will be in full force at this tribute.

It’s bound to be an evening chocful of blonde hair and pink accessories at the Lower Ossington Theatre when Legally Blonde: The Musical struts onstage. You’ll cheer as Elle Woods, sorority-girl extraordinaire, enrolls in law school and silences naysayers.

Ballet Jorgen unites the lyricism and innovation of ballet throughout the ages in this weekend’s production of classical and contemporary ballet. This two-show run by one of Canada’s leading modern dance companies is sure to inspire and delight as it glides across the Betty Oliphant Theatre stage. (more…)

Weekend Roundup: March 2 to 4

Friday: Entity offers provocative dance (photo by Ravi Deepres)

Friday, March 2
A stunning yet spare staging of contemporary dance awaits Harbourfront Centre audiences, as England’s Random Dance Company and acclaimed choreographer Wayne McGregor perform Entity, featuring music by the likes of Coldplay, Massive Attack and Jon Hopkins.

The National Ballet of Canada’s winter season opened this week with the lighthearted, romantic and slightly comical La Fille mal gardee. This classic pastoral ballet tells the story of Lise, who wishes to marry a young farmer. Her mother, however, has other plans, and promises Lise to a wealthy but buffoonish landowner.

The Artist Project Toronto entices creators, collectors and enthusiasts to Exhibition Place’s Queen Elizabeth Building this weekend. Admire contemporary works of photography, painting, textile art, digital media and more by independent artists Canada and around the world. While there, take a trip down Installation Alley to view large-scale sculptures and conceptual art projects, too. (more…)

Save the Date: The National Ballet of Canada’s 2012/13 Season

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (photo by Cylla von Tiedemann)

Just as theatre company Mirvish Productions was announcing its upcoming schedule, so too was another of the city’s performing arts institutions, the National Ballet of Canada, presenting its own highly anticipated 2012/13 programming—a selection that promises to thrill and inspire with its diverse mix of celebrated classics and groundbreaking new works.

The fall season opens with a whimsical bang when Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland returns to the Four Seasons Centre stage from November 10 to 25, 2012. Having received rapturous reviews when it premiered at last year’s Luminato festival, this lavish co-production with England’s Royal Ballet reimagines Lewis Carroll’s most beloved work through the grace and lyricism of dance. (more…)