Coffee with Michael Mori


Article Written by Stephen Bell – Marketing/Development @coffeescreative

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At Coffeeshop Creative we are not only passionate about designing and developing a unique web presence for our clients, but also sharing their stories. We are super excited to introduce our new series of blogs – Grabbing Coffee. Today’s feature is the Artistic Director of Tapestry Opera, Michael Mori!  We recently caught up with Michael in the beautiful Distillery District in Toronto.

Headshot Photography (Above): Dahlia Katz


What inspires you with operatic stage direction?


My line of work challenges me to persuade the average person on the street, who doesn’t think that theatre or opera is a part of their world, that opera could inform or make their life better. This inspires me! I believe that opera can, when done right, allow for anyone to walk  into a performance for the first time and be deeply moved by it. This is a key role that art has always played in society, and one that I think we should advocate for in a society dominated by recorded media, reality television, sports, and celebrity culture.


AGO Friday Nights – Michael Mori

As an artistic director of a company in Canada, what do you see as important to develop new audiences?


Opera needs to be good every time, and occasionally it needs to be great. I don’t think we belong to the time when you can just put on a concert, and by virtue of it being the music of a master like Beethoven, Bach, Mozart, or Massenet that it would be enough to have people come and appreciate it. The standards have actually risen… and this is where I disagree when people say a lack of education is the reason why people don’t come to the performing arts. Our public is in many ways very discerning, as we have access to almost everything at our fingertips and we have acclimatized to the hyper-detailed aethetics of film and televison. What we do as producers, preformers and directors has to be relatable for people. If we do this, we will get more audiences, and in doing so begin to break down the damaging stereotypes that opera carries as baggage.






Where do you see opera in Canada going in the next 25 years?


I think Canada, and specifically Toronto right now, is providing an opportunity for opera to become “popular” again. If we were able to grow opera audiences by 1% of the population of the country, we would suddenly move from elite “niche” to trendy.  Tapestry is seeing this growth first hand. We have so many great artists, and inspired producers…the sky is the limit for the next 25 years. Of course, the question is, will the people who have the most influence in the field push for that, or are they going to stick to more conservative approaches to the art form? My hope is for a shared bold vision for the future, allowing for the operatic arts to grow and ultimately be a part of Canadian, not just post-colonial Canadian culture.




Tapestry Opera’s recent production of Rocking Horse Winner – Michael Mori, Director

(Carla Huhtanen, Erica Iris Huang, Aaron Durand, Sean Clark, Elaina Moreau, Peter McGillivray, Keith Klassen, and Asitha Tennekoon)

When not directing or involved in operatic productions, where might we find you?


I am incredibly busy these days with productions and plans at Tapestry and elsewhere, but when I find some leisure time I have a fondness for tennis, badminton, travelling, hiking, climbing, dancing, and learning new languages whilst on my travels.


Tapestry Opera’s production Rocking Horse Winner (Asitha Tennekoon, Erica Iris Huang, Elaina Moreau, and Sean Clark

And most importantly: what’s your favourite type or style of coffee?


I love ko-hee jelly, or Japanese style coffee jelly. It’s best in the summer when it’s hot outside – you take the ko-hee jelly, poor chilled cream over top and voila. Delicious.

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