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In the bathtub, daydreaming about death

After three years of “transadaptated” and time-warped Mozart, this year Joel Ivany’s Open Space residency at Banff Centre has discovered more recent material: Claude Vivier’s intriguing and ambitious chamber opera Kopernikus from 1979, and with it a surprising comfort with the unaltered text. The slightly awed production team (Ivany: “This may be the greatest work of Canadian chamber opera.” Topher Mokrzewski: “Why qualify it?”) took an unfamiliarly reverent approach to the score. If the trombone player is written as playing the crotales, then nobody else will touch them. What they did add were new perspectives, inviting Dene singer Leela Gilday as dramaturg, and choreographer Matjash Mrozewski, who created a gestural language to unite the singers, musicians, and dancers.