The pandemic kept artists and art lovers apart, but the premiere of Villainy on Oct. 22, aims to bring viewers a fresh, immersive perspective on collaboration through an experience of film, dance and live piano.

Vincent Ho, a Calgary-based contemporary composer and three-time Juno Award nominee, composed a set of Supervillain études for a piano duo. Ho delved into the psychological profiles of Batman’s adversaries such as the Joker, the Penguin, the Riddler and Catwoman and interpreted their narcissism, obsessive-compulsive, post-traumatic and other disorders within his compositions.

Emil Agopian, award winning director, created Villainy to accompany Ho’s compositions. Agopian incorporates the modern storytelling medium of music and video while honouring classic styles. 

“You look at silent films like Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin or what have you, that’s the sort of tradition that I personally love,” Agopian said.

Lana Henchell, a top prize winning pianist with a PhD in piano performance, and Akiko Tominaga, an acclaimed concert pianist who also has a PhD in music, will play the live score on grand pianos during the premiere of Villainy at the Globe Theatre.

The initial catalyst for the project came when Henchell and Tominaga were introduced to Ho’s Supervillain études. Henchell and Tominaga were so touched by the pieces, they commissioned Ho to interpret it into a piano duo. 

Yukichi Hattori, former Alberta Ballet principal dancer, was enlisted to star and choreograph Villainy alongside Marie France Forcier and Kelley McKinley, also Alberta Ballet alumni. They worked together with Agopian to create a unique version of Ho’s characters. 

Agopian found the multidisciplinary collaboration project to be an experience of great growth and fulfillment. Everyone involved, from the executive producer to the production assistant, is an artist, so there was a mutual respect shared by all.

“So, hoping to inspire people to be interdisciplinary, to consider any other human being or any other creative, someone who can be brought into something you’re doing, because that’s where new blood is minted,” Agopian said.

Composer Vincent Ho and Alberta Ballet Alumni, Yukichi Hattori, Marie France Forcier and Kelley McKinley. PHOTO CREDIT: VILLAINY MEDIA KIT

Not only do the creators aim for the premiere to be a rich experience of visuals and live grand pianos, but Agopian also wants to encourage other artists to step out of their lanes and into art’s multiverse. 

To purchase tickets for the live performance and for more information about the Villainy premiere visit their website.  

Villainy will also premiere on their website online on Nov. 4.

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