PHILIP GLASS & LEONARD COHEN
June 1 to 3 A new concert work by internationally regarded composer Phillip Glass, “Book of Longing” makes its world premiere at the festival from June 1 to 3. Based on Leonard Cohen’s recently published poetry collection—the Montreal-born songwriter and poet’s first in two decades—the piece blends a recording of Cohen’s words with Glass’s inspired score. Elgin Theatre, 189 Yonge St., $25 to $125. Even better, hear Cohen and Glass discuss the project with former editor of the New York Times Arts and Leisure section John Rockwell on June 2. Elgin Theatre, $15. And there’s more: Drawn to Words is the world premiere exhibit, from June 4 to 10, of Leonard Cohen’s journals Drabinsky Gallery, free.
ERIC IDLE & THE TORONTO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
June 1 to 3 Monty Python alum Eric Idle and his award-winning Spamalot collaborator John Du Prez were commissioned by the festival and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra to create a light-hearted oratorio. The result, Not the Messiah (He’s A Very Naughty Boy), takes its inspiration from the cult-classic film Life of Brian. TSO conductor Peter Oundjian, who just happens to Idle’s cousin, takes the podium for its premiere on June 1. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $25 to $125.
ATOM EGOYAN & KUTLUG ATAMAN
June 1 to 10 Acclaimed director Atom Egoyan (Where the Truth Lies, The Sweet Hereafter) pairs up with Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman to present two distinctive video portraits. Egoyan’s Auroras considers the life of Armenian actress Aurora Mardiganian. Ataman presents Testimony, a tribute to his aging nanny who also cared for the artist’s father. Artcore, free admission.
AN EVENING WITH GLENN GOULD
June 5 to 10 It’s been 25 years since his death, but the legacy of Toronto-born pianist Glenn Gould endures. On June 5, catch the world premiere of An Evening with Glenn Gould, an original play that imaginatively recreates the last night of the pianist’s life. Written by Gould’s friend, filmmaker John McGreevy, the play stars Ted Dykstra of Two Pianos, Four Hands fame. Young Centre for the Performing Arts, Distillery Historic District, 55 Mill Street, $40.
June 8 At this opera extravaganza, 16 of Canada’s top talents, including soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian and baritone Russell Braun, perform a selection of opera’s greatest hits with members of the TSO and the Canadian Opera Company Chorus. Conductor Giordano Bellincampi leads the production. Roy Thomson Hall, 60 Simcoe St., $25 to $300.
June 1 to 10 Look up! You don’t want to miss the sculptures suspended from the ceilings of some of the city’s most iconic public spaces. Artist Max Streicher’s inflatable horses hover over the clock in the Great Hall of Union Station (65 Front St. W.). Keep your eyes peeled for other installations at BCE Place and the Art Gallery of Ontario.
Canadian Premiere Exhibit
June 1 to 10 Watch a metaphor in motion: Max Dean’s “The Robotic Chair” falls apart before the viewer’s eyes only to put itself back together again. The location was undetermined at press time; check the Web site (www.luminato.com) to find out where to see Dean’s feat of engineering and imagination.
June 1, 3, 4, 7, 8 & 10 The latest installment in playwright George F. Walker’s East-End play cycle, Tough! deals with the very adult lives of 12 teens. Playing at the Factory Studio Theatre, look out for free stagings of the show at select outdoor locations. 125 Bathurst St., $15.
Best in Children’s Theatre
June 4 & 5 The Roseneath Theatre Company, one of the nation’s premier children’s theatre companies presents Ojibwa playwright Drew Hayden Taylor’s Spirit Horse, an adaptation of the international hit Tir Na N’ Og. Lorraine Kimsa Theatre for Young People, 165 Front St., $20.
International Literati on T.O.
June 1 to 10 The Harbourfront Reading Series’ addition to the festival, Well Read includes readings (see Web site for confirmed list and events) and essays on Toronto from leading authors, including Ian Rankin, Maeve Binchy and Simon Winchester. Check The Globe and Mail newspaper each day to read these specially commissioned pieces.
June 6 to 9 Celebrated choreographer Shen Wei brings his critically acclaimed works Rite of Spring and Re to the Premiere Dance Theatre. Combining contemporary dance with martial arts and Chinese opera, the works strive to become “live paintings.” Premiere Dance Theatre, 207 Queens Quay W., $35 to $45.
THE WRAP-UP PARTY
June 8 to 10 Carnivalissima, a vibrant non-stop carnival that incorporates traditions from Brazil, New Orleans, the Caribbean, Asia and Europe, wraps up the 10-day festival at Harbourfront Centre. Participation is the name of the game: make Chinese lanterns and float them into the pool at Harbourfront or make your own costume for the masquerade ball (June 8). The weekend concludes with a parade and closing concert by Soca king Machel Montano and Tout Monde Ca Danse. Free admission.
For more about Luminato, check out the following stories:
Our Biggest Arts Festival Ever
Behind the Scnes With Luminato’s CEO