Out and About
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera – unique interpretation of the classic album – Nov 13 to 23, 2019 (Toronto)
Montreal’s Productions Opéra Concept MP presents the Toronto premiere of Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, inspired by the era-defining 1979 album The Wall, on stage November 13–14, 16–17, and 23, 2019 at Meridian Hall (formerly the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts). The trailblazing production sets the poetic lyrics of British rock legend Roger Waters to a bold new lyrical score by award-winning Montreal-based composer Julien Bilodeau. This opera hybrid reflects on the nature of dreams and the price of fame — artfully amplified by eye-popping video projections and powerful vocal performances — and performed by more than 100 Canadian artists, including a 51-piece orchestra.
Pink Floyd fans typically are open-minded when it comes to music, given the fact that most of their albums are what would be described as “concept pieces”, meaning they are meant to convey a story from beginning to end. These type of albums were quite common with several progressive rock bands in the 1970s. With The Wall being released in 1979, it was at the tail end of this style of formatted recording, that featured individual songs of longer length (7-10 minutes).
The Wall album was made into a film back in 1982, and also a 1990 film recording was made of a Berlin benefit recording as well. However, this is the first time it has been presented as an operatic piece, and die-hard fans might have a challenge accepting this incarnation. Many in the audience are Pink Floyd fans, as opposed to opera fans, so this is quite a bit of a stretch for the imagination. The overall production with the orchestration, visualizations, and on stage characterization is quite stunning. However, the difficulty comes with trying to follow along with the story, especially if one is not familiar with either the album or the movie. There are surtitles, however depending on where you sit, the placement of the teleprompter might be more a a hindrance than helpful.
Clocking in at close to two hours, with intermission, the production felt overly long…for a non-opera fan. It is timely though, in celebration of the 40th anniversary since the album release, and also in recognition of 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, which the album was somewhat based around. In terms of whether rock fans will flock to see this interpretation, will still depend on how much of an open-mind one goes in with.
Celebrating its 40th anniversary, The Wall is considered one of the greatest rock albums of all time and Waters’ most enduring creation. The opera is a lyrical exploration of alienation, abandonment, and isolation — as symbolized by a wall. The story traces the life of a man named Pink (inspired by Waters’ life) from his childhood in post-World War II Europe to his self-imposed isolation as a world famous rock star. It’s a captivating journey that leads to an explosive and cathartic conclusion. The narrative resonates across time, reflecting the political realities we still face today and foregrounding the devastating impact of the walls we continue to build and tear down in turn.
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera, winner of two Opus Awards for Musical Event of the Year and Composer of the Year in 2018, is directed and conceptualized by Dominic Champagne, conducted by Alain Trudel, and features a luminary Canadian cast, including Nathan Keoughan, France Bellemare, Caroline Bleau, and Jean-Michel Richer. The monumental sets for the production are designed by Stéphane Roy, along with striking costumes by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt, towering projections by Johnny Ranger, and elegant lighting by Anne-Catherine Simard-Deraspe and Étienne Boucher.
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera
Date: November 13–14, 16, and 23 at 8pm
November 17 at 2pm
Ticket Prices: From $56
Venue: Meridian Hall (formerly Sony Centre for the Performing Arts)
1 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5B 1B2
Box Office: ticketmaster.ca
Another Brick in the Wall: The Opera will also be on stage in Vancouver in spring 2020.
About the Author
Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.