Michael Hidetoshi Mori is a “shot of adrenaline to opera”. Michael is a leading international voice in socially and artistically progressive opera and music theatre. An award-winning Canadian/American stage director, and the General Director of Tapestry Opera in Toronto, he is frequently sought as a director, dramaturge, producer and speaker. Bringing new works from concept to full realization is his specialty, having commissioned and developed more than ten new operas over the past five years. Michael is the Chair of Opera.ca, Canada’s association of professional opera companies, and was recently one of two delegates invited to represent Canada at the 2018 World Opera Forum in Madrid, where he presented on diversity in opera. Michael’s leadership at Tapestry Opera has led to the Globe and Mail naming Tapestry as the “Leader of the Canadian opera pack” in 2019. Michael was named one of ten Torontonians to watch by the Toronto Star for his ambitious direction at Tapestry Opera and his leadership among independent producers.
Since taking over the company in 2014, Michael has more than doubled its annual commissions and productions, spearheading projects and partnerships with Scottish Opera, Vancouver Opera, The Luminato Festival, the Art Gallery of Ontario, Canadian Stage, Pride Toronto and Opera on the Avalon. In 2017, Michael led Tapestry Opera and its world premiere of Gareth Williams’ and Anna Chatterton’s Rocking Horse Winner to nine nominations and five awards at Toronto’s Dora Mavor Moore awards, including Outstanding Production and winning Michael the award for Outstanding Direction. Michael is a versatile stage director, working both in site-specific settings and conventional theatres. Recent directing credits include co-directing Shanawdithit for Tapestry Opera and Opera on the Avalon; Puccini’s Rigoletto for Sacramento Opera; a new production of David T. Little and Royce Vavrek’s Vinkensport for Opera Saratoga; Puccini’s Il Trittico for West Bay Opera in Palo Alto; the world premiere of Brian Finley and Agnes Herzberg’s The Pencil Salesman at the Westben Festival; the world premiere of Benton Roark and Julie Tepperman’s historical comedy Bandits in the Valley for Tapestry Opera; Jake Heggie’s Dead Man Walking for Fresno Grand Opera and Townsend Opera; and a new production of The Marriage of Figaro for Opera Columbus. A highlight among Michael’s most innovative creations is Tapestry Explorations (Tap:Ex), an annual concert experience that collides opera with other artistic forms. The series has experimented with mixed reality in Augmented Opera, fully choreographed art-music in Revolutions, synthesized cut-film, track, turn-table, live soprano and percussion Tables-Turned, a collaboration with punk band Fucked Up Metallurgy, and a mash-up of opera, Persian music and hip-hop dealing with gender and sexual politics Forbidden. The series has attracted a great deal of attention.
In early 2018 BBC World profiled Michael’s direction of Forbidden as an example of barrier-breaking in opera, and in 2016 the CBC named Tapestry Opera and Michael as a force reshaping the Canadian artistic landscape. As an artist-activist with a passion for grassroots collaborations, Michael co-founded Indie Opera T.O, an association of twelve small-to-medium Toronto companies working together to forge a vibrant underground opera scene.