OperaQ’s 2022 Medusa’s Children is a new chamber opera with text by Charlie Petch (Mel Malarkey, Daughter of Geppetto, Why I Was Late) and music by Colin McMahon (La Maupin). Directed by Lauren Halasz, Medusa’s Childrenexplores themes of family, loss, sexual violence, and toxic masculinity through a trans and queer lens, drawing on the aftermath of the Medusa myth to tell a story at once dark, tender, and whimsical. The production was filmed by Coffeeshop Creative in September 2021 and released digitally in June 2022.
ABOUT THE PRODUCERS
OperaQ is a Toronto-based independent opera collective dedicated to amplifying queer and trans voices to offer unique perspectives on traditional narratives. Although the opera industry involves countless queer artists, opportunities for authentic and complex expressions of queerness are few and far between. OperaQ’s mission is to create a space in which queer and trans artists can tell their stories on their own terms. On each project, OperaQ’s goal is to employ at least 50% (and as close to 100% as possible) queer artists in our performance and production team.
OperaQ was founded in September 2018 by Co-Artistic Directors Ryan McDonald and Camille Rogers and made its debut with a reimagining of Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas in May of 2019. The production, renamed Dido Belinda, offered a new perspective on Purcell’s beloved one-act opera, emphasizing many of the themes already found in the original text: the shame surrounding feminine sexuality, the ignorance of male privilege, and the societal pressure to conform to gender roles.
Between 2019 and 2022, OperaQ commissioned and developed Medusa’s Children, a queer chamber opera exploring trans themes on the Medusa myth, supported by funding from the Toronto Arts Council and the Canada Council for the Arts. Pivoting quickly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Medusa’s Children was workshopped online in February of 2021 under the supervision of composer Colin McMahon and librettist Charlie Petch. The production was filmed by Coffeeshop Creative in September 2021 and released digitally in June 2022. Meanwhile, OperaQ also produced Handel’s Drag Messiah, a filmed workshop that gave queer voice students from the University of Toronto Faculty of Music a chance to develop drag numbers under the guidance of Toronto drag performer Gay Jesus. Handel’s Drag Messiah was filmed in November 2021 and released in December 2021.
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The Awards for Digital Excellence in Opera are supported by The Joseph and Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation.