Beatles’ Abbey Road re-imagined at Royal Conservatory

[attach]2424[/attach]Call it Beatlemania 2.0.

The Art of time Ensemble, helmed by artistic director Andrew Burashko, is gearing up for a sophomore performance of the Beatles’ Abbey Road album.

Being staged this year on Oct. 21 at the Royal Conservatory of Music’s grand Koerner Hall, top Toronto singers including Sarah Slean, Steven Page (formerly of the Barenaked Ladies) and Martin Tielli of the Rheostatics will be joined onstage by guitarist Rob Piltch and violinist Benjamin Bowman.

The Moscow-born Burashko also performs as the show’s pianist.

Last fall, the ensemble presented a sold-out show at Harbourfront’s Enwave Theatre, marking the 40th anniversary of the iconic album’s release.

It was so successful, Burashko decided to do it again.

And true to Art of Time’s experimental spirit, Abbey Road doesn’t just regurgitate hits such as “Maxwell’s Silver Hammer” or “Come Together” as the Beatles originally intended them to be.

Instead, all of the classic songs off the 1969 album are presented under new arrangements with the artists infusing their own classical, pop and multicultural genres into The Beatles’ songs.

“The point of this is to reinvent the music as much as possible without corrupting the music, without changing The Beatles,” midtown-based Burashko says a few weeks before the show.

The iconic hit “Come Together” is performed as a Bollywood number while “Oh! Darling”, is presented as a gospel tune.
The ensemble doesn’t shy away from the unknown.

“Every one of our productions is an experiment,” Burashko says. “We never know how it is going to work out.”

Since its inception in 1998, the company has presented innovative, multimedia productions on iconic music and artistic works.

This past March they presented an engaging adaptation of Tolstoy’s novella, The Kreutzer Sonata. In December 2008, the ensemble brought audiences a diverse program of dance and French music featuring the choreography of Doug Varone and the music of Claude Debussy among others.

This time, Burashko wanted to re-visit his love for the Beatles.

He grew up with their music, and says he especially adores side two of Abbey Road as it includes a medley of several short, finished and unfinished songs – songs the Beatles themselves experimented with.

The Beatles created an incredible body of work, Burashko says, so much so, that he can’t – and won’t – pick a favourite song.

“They influenced countless musicians that came after them. They took pop and rock ’n’ roll in a whole new direction,” he says.

Burashko is equally gracious about being able to once again bring Art of Time’s interpretations of The Beatles to a hometown audience.

“To the outside eye, the arts community in Toronto is just one arts community,” Burashko says. “But inside the arts community there are many different communities – dance, pop, classical …as there are different audiences for those communities.

“To be able to bring audiences together is incredibly satisfying as well.”