1,000 performers. 1 epic experience.

June 26 – 28, 2015

Acclaimed Canadian composer R. Murray Schafer's Apocalypsis brings Toronto to life, then to death, then to life again under the direction of Lemi Ponifasio.

Resurrecting Apocalypsis is one of the greatest challenges Luminato Festival has ever taken on. I wouldn’t consider missing it.

— Toronto Star
Performed in full for the first time since its world premiere in 1980, Schafer’s epic musical voyage is written in two parts: John’s Vision, a meditation on the world ending in chaos; and Credo, a revolutionary ascension to order.

In one of the largest performance events Toronto has ever seen, Apocalypsis blends professional and amateur talents in a cast of 1,000 local singers, musicians, conductors, actors and dancers to create an unprecedented feast for the eyes, the ears and the soul.

Toronto conductor David Fallis brings Schafer’s signature soundscapes to life, leading a team close to 20 conductors and their ensembles on stage to rejoice in humanity’s potential for rebirth in a celebration of life and hope, with solo performances from multi-disciplinary artist Nina Arsenault, Tony Award-winner Brent Carver, dancer Denise Fujiwara, Polaris Prize-winner Tanya Tagaq, rising New Zealand opera star Kawiti Waetford, and the voice of renowned performance artist Laurie Anderson.

Following Ponifasio's debut at the 2014 Luminato Festival with his Company MAU and Stones In Her Mouth, called a “brilliant, must-see performance” by The Globe and Mail, Ponifasio brings Schafer’s vision to the stage in an empire of sound and movement with one of Luminato Festival’s most ambitious productions yet.


Voice of John - Laurie Anderson
Voice of John Laurie Anderson
Laurie Anderson

Laurie Anderson is one of America’s most renowned – and daring – creative pioneers. She is best known for her multimedia presentations and innovative use of technology. As writer, director, visual artist and vocalist she has created groundbreaking works that span the worlds of art, theatre and experimental music. Anderson’s live shows range from simple spoken word to elaborate multimedia stage performances such as Songs and Stories for Moby Dick (1999). Anderson has published seven books and her visual work has been presented in major museums around the world. Anderson lives in New York City.

Voice of John - Laurie Anderson
Whore of Babylon - Nina Arsenault
Whore of Babylon Nina Arsenault
Nina Arsenault

Nina Arsenault is a multi-disciplinary artist, fast feminist and muse who has worked nationally and internationally in live theatre, dance, film, video, poetry, photography, avant-garde performance art, reality TV and popular print media, receiving both critical acclaim and controversy. Her volunteer social activism includes the Toronto Metropolitan Police Department, Mount Sinai Hospital, Women’s College Hospital, Supporting Our Youth, The Sherbourne Health Centre, the 519 Community Centre and many other organizations furthering the dignity and freedoms of trans people. Nina is also a frequent speaker at Canadian and American universities, Moses Znaimer’s IdeaCity, and an upcoming TED Talk in October.

Whore of Babylon - Nina Arsenault
Antichrist - Brent Carver
Antichrist Brent Carver
Brent Carver

Brent Carver is an internationally recognized performer having starred in numerous roles throughout Canada, the United States and England in theatre, film, and television.

In 1979 at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum, Carver played Ariel opposite Anthony Hopkins in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Displaying versatility and dedication, Carver has performed major roles in Richard III, Cyrano de Bergerac, Tartuffe, Jacques Brel, Cabaret, Much Ado About Nothing, Lord of the RingsMother Courage and Kiss of the Spider Woman for which he won a Tony Award on Broadway. His solo show Brent Carver in Concert played to sold-out venues in both Toronto and Vancouver. Brent was awarded the 2001 Capital Critics Theatre Award for Best Actor for his performance in Larry’s Party. He has played opposite Christopher Plummer in King Lear at Lincoln Center and received critical praise for his role in Vigil for Canadian Stage. Carver has recently performed in Romeo and Juliet on Broadway and Jesus Christ Superstar, Camelot, Jacques Brel and As You Like It at Stratford.

Carver has also appeared in television movies and series such as This is Wonderland, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Da Vinci: Dream of Flight, Millennium, The Wars, The Song Spinner, Love and Hate and The Twilight Zone. He was critically acclaimed for his role as the Countess in the feature film Lilies, for his title role in Whiskers he received an Emmy nomination and he has won Gemini Awards for his performances in Street Legal, Due South and Elizabeth Rex. Carver’s film work includes Deeply with Kirsten Dunst for director Sheri Elwood, Atom Egoyan’s Ararat, and Thom Fitzgerald’s The Event.

Antichrist - Brent Carver
John - Denise Fujiwara
John Denise Fujiwara
Denise Fujiwara

Denise Fujiwara won the Toronto Arts Foundation Award for International Achievement in Dance in 2013. Her exquisite solo dance concerts have toured to festivals all over the world. Last year her company premiered EUNOIA, an adaptation of Christian Bök’s awardwinning poem at Harbourfront Centre’s World Stage. It received three Dora Award nominations for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Ensemble Performance and Outstanding Music, as well as being listed in the Top Five Dances of 2014 by NOW Magazine. Her other ensemble works include commissions for the Compania Nacional de Danza de Costa Rica, eX…it! in Germany, and NO EXIT for the CanDance Network. She co-founded the CanAsian International Dance Festival in 1997 and continues as the Artistic Director.

John - Denise Fujiwara
Old Woman - Tanya Tagaq
Old Woman Tanya Tagaq
Tanya Tagaq

When Tanya Tagaq’s music fills your ears, she is genuinely one of those rare artists whose sounds and styles are truly groundbreaking. “Inuit throat singer” is one part of her sonic quotient. So are descriptions like “orchestral,” “hip-hopinfused” and “prima”…but these words are not usually used collectively. In the case of Tagaq, however, they are.

So much has happened to Tagaq since the release of her debut CD Sinaa (meaning “edge” in her ancestral language of Inuktitut) in 2005. Tagaq has recently recorded once again with Björk (on the soundtrack for the Matthew Barney film Drawing Restraint 9) having already appeared on Björk’s Medúlla CD in 2004 and accompanied her on the Vespertine tour. In 2005, another monumental collaborative project came to fruition when the Kronos Quartet invited Tagaq to participate on a project aptly titled Nunavut, which has been performed at select venues across North America, from its January 2006 debut at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, BC through to New York’s Carnegie Hall. Acclaim and respect has followed Tagaq on her solo ventures as well: both Sinaa and Auk / Blood were nominated for a Juno Award (Best Aboriginal Recording and Best Instrumental Recording) and won in several categories at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, including Best Female Artist. Tagaq’s stunning video “Tungijuq” on which she collaborated with Jesse Zubot and Montreal filmmakers Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, premiered at the 2009 Toronto International Film Festival and the 2010 Sundance Film Festival. In 2009 Tagaq also narrated and provided music for the National Film Board documentary, This Land.

Tagaq’s third album Animism, released in 2014, has received major critical praise and attention in Canada. The album won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, a prestigious annual award (based on the U.K.’s Mercury Prize) that judges albums based on “the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history.” Tagaq’s unforgettable gala performance and acceptance speech have further amplified the impact of this win, and her victory has been heralded a turning point in Canadian music and culture. Animism also won the award for “Pushing the Boundaries” at the Canadian Folk Music Awards.

Old Woman - Tanya Tagaq
Archangel Michael - Kawiti Waetford
Archangel Michael Kawiti Waetford
Kawiti Waetford

New Zealand baritone Kawiti Waetford has performed with the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Auckland Philharmonic Orchestra and Christchurch Symphony Orchestra. He is currently studying with world-renowned Welsh tenor, Dennis O’Neill, at the Wales International Academy of Voice. Waetford’s roles include Figaro in The Marriage of Figaro produced by Opera Otago, and Guglielmo in Cosi fan tutte produced by the Auckland Opera Studio, and at The Globe Theatre, London, in Shakespeare’s As You Like It (New Zealand Young Shakespeare Co. in 2009). Waetford gratefully acknowledges the invaluable support of Dame Kiri Te Kanawa and her Foundation, and the Ngarimu VC & Maori Battalion Trust Board, who continue to provide him with significant mentorship and support.

Archangel Michael - Kawiti Waetford
Cosmic Christ - Ioane Papalii
Cosmic Christ Ioane Papalii
Ioane Papalii

Ioane Papalii is one of New Zealand’s leading dancers. He has been the principal performer with Lemi Ponifasio/MAU through the last twenty years. Ioane is an important contributor to the development of Pacific theatre and dance. With MAU, Papalii has performed in leading theatres and festivals including the Lincoln Center, BAM, Venice Biennale International Theatre and Dance Festivals, the Holland Festival, Theater Der Welt Festival Germany, Ruhrtriennale, the Avignon Festival, Theatre de la Ville Paris, and the Edinburgh International Festival.

Cosmic Christ - Ioane Papalii
Beast - Helmi Prasetyo
Beast Helmi Prasetyo
Helmi Prasetyo

Helmi Prasetyo is a performer and director known for his work with Teater Ruang and founder Joko Bibit Santoso in Solo, Indonesia. Teater Ruang is a space for children and holds events like gamelan music, poetry, theatre, discussions, orations and Tanggul Keprihatinan Budaya (embankment of cultural concern) and actions against the influence of global media in Indonesia. Teater Ruang stages highly physical experimental plays. Helmi has been working with MAU since 2007.

Beast - Helmi Prasetyo

Participating Choir and Quartet

Women’s Chorus Cantores Celestes Women’s Choir
Part I: Men's Chorus Seraphim Men’s Chorus
Part I: Children’s Chorus Hamilton Children’s Choir
Part I: Speech Chorus The Element Choir
Part I: Mixed Chorus Univox Choir Toronto
Part I: Mixed Chorus Bell’Arte Singers
Part I: Mixed Chorus City Choir
Part I: Mixed Chorus First Unitarian Congregation of Toronto Choir
Part I: Mixed Chorus Oakham House Choir of Ryerson University
Part I: Mixed Chorus Singing Out
Part I: Psalm Chorus Cantabile Chamber Singers
Part I: Psalm Chorus Choir 21
Part I: Psalm Chorus Toronto Chamber Choir
Part II: Jasper + Sapphire Toronto Mendelssohn Choir
Part II: Agate Grand Philharmonic Choir – Chamber Singers
Part II: Emerald Exultate Chamber Singers
Part II: Onyx Pax Christi Chorale
Part II: Sardius Ottawa Bach Choir
Part II: Chrysolite Tallis Choir of Toronto
Part II: Beryl Orpheus Choir of Toronto
Part II: Topaz Ontario Youth Choir Alumni, Choirs Ontario
Part II: Chrysoprasus Cathedral Choir of St. James
Part II: Jacinth DaCapo Chamber Choir
Part II: Amethyst Guelph Chamber Choir
Part I: Brass Ensemble Hannaford Youth Program
Part I: High Instruments Musica Reflecta
Percussion Director Ryan Scott
Assistant Percussion Director Michelle Colton, DMA
Part I: Organ Sarah Svendsen
Part II: Jasper Members of the Afiara Quartet and Guests
Part II: Sapphire Ton Beau String Quartet
Part II: Agate Vaughan String Quartet
Part II: Emerald Aether String Quartet
Part II: Onyx Kensington Ensemble
Part II: Sardius Quatuor Despax
Part II: Chrysolite Strataphoria String Quartet
Part II: Beryl Odin String Quartet
Part II: Topaz Erato String Quartet
Part II: Chrysoprasus Eden String Quartet
Part II: Jacinth Adficio Quartet
Part II: Amethyst Cecilia String Quartet

Creative Team

R. Murray Schafer has achieved an international reputation as a composer, educator, environmentalist, scholar and visual artist. As the “father of acoustic ecology,” Schafer continues to be concerned about the damaging effects of technological sounds on people. The soundscape concept, central to Schafer’s thinking, has influenced much of his composition. Schafer’s search for a “hi-fidelity” soundscape led to his move to an Ontario farmhouse which then inspired a series of “natural-environment” works. His soundscape interest is also reflected in those of his works that employ spatial distribution of the performers, the most ambitious being Apocalypsis, which calls for 950 performers. Schafer’s oeuvre has now surpassed 150 compositions covering all genres of music from opera to chamber music, and from choral music to symphonies.

R. Murray Schafer. 

R. Murray Schafer

Lemi Ponifasio

David Fallis

Helen Todd