Against the Grain Theatre to Celebrate Centennial of Holst’s ‘Sāvitri’ with New Filmed Production

By Logan Martell

On June 23, 2021, Against the Grain Theatre will present a new filmed version of Gustav Holst’s chamber opera “Sāvitri.”

Based on the Hindu legend of the same name, this filmed version is set to release 100 years after the opera’s debut. The story follows an Indian princess who confronts the God of Death to save her husband, and features Indo-Canadian soprano, actor, and Miss India Canada 2007 Meher Pavri in the title role. She will be joined by Armenian-Canadian bass-baritone Vartan Gabrilian as Yama, the God of Death, and tenor Andrew Haji as Satyavān.

The 12-piece chamber orchestra will be conducted by Simon Rivard, Resident Conductor for the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. There will be additional music by sarod master, educator, and writer Arnab Chakrabarty, as well as leading tabla virtuoso Shahbaz Hussain. The creative team includes sound designer Pouya Hamidi, Director of Photography Dylan Toombs, and costume designer Ming Wong. AtG Associate Artistic Director and co-founder Miriam Khalil makes her professional directorial debut, alongside Associate Director Simran Claire.

“’Sāvitri’ speaks to where my family has come from and my identity as a Punjabi performer born in Canada,” Claire noted in a press release. “I’m not compartmentalizing my cultural heritage and my career as an artist – I can approach this project as a whole person.”

The opening night will see AtG host an online pre-show discussion with the cast and directors, hosted by company Collective Member Amanda Hadi.