Wednesday, October 1 was the first annual Operanation’s Pre-Drink Party held in celebration of the upcoming Canadian Opera Company’s premier fundraiser, Operanation: Light up the Night. This intimate party gave a small number of guests the opportunity to vote on the signature whiskey cocktail of the night as well as be privy to some very intriguing details about the upcoming party, which itself will be held on Thursday, October 16, 2014.

Canadian Opera Company's first Operanation Pre-Drink

For the eleventh annual Operanation: Light up the Night fundraiser, all aspects of the event will take inspiration from the Canadian Opera Company’s current production of The Barber of Seville, the seventeenth century comedic opera composed by Gioachino Rossini.

“Think Pablo Picasso in a rave,” said Randi Bergman, one of the co-chairs of the event when describing the fundraiser’s theme.

Prior to the actual tasting, Randi revealed more information about Operanation, including the incorporation of multiple artistic genres that is set to electrify the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts. This year, Yelle, the electro-pop music act from Paris, France, will perform alongside two of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio artists. Bright and colourful illuminations and neon accents in the décor will reflect the theme’s Spanish influences. Three Canadian contemporary visual artists, Keith Cole, Orest Tataryn, and Derek Liddington, will create grandiose art installations and performance pieces that will definitely make jaws drop and add that extra element of flair to the evening. Canadian fashion designers, Sarah Stevenson (Sarah Stevenson Design), Chloe and Parris Gordon (Beaufille), and Kaelen Haworth (Kaelen) will be creating snap bracelets to channel inspiration from the neon lighting accents at the event, to incorporate the fashion aspect of this multi-faceted arts and culture party. If that isn’t exciting enough, there will be a raffle held throughout the evening where the prizes include a shopping spree at The Room and tickets to a secret Tragically Hip concert!

During the actual tasting, guests were treated to two very different whiskey cocktails, both of which were created by David Mitton, the passionate and gracious co-owner of The Harbord Room and Canadian Whiskey Ambassador. The first cocktail was the “La Fiesta De Otoño/Fall Fiesta,” which is a blend of Lot No.40 Rye Whiskey, Pike Creek Canadian Whiskey, cinnamon, cloves, aromatic bitters, an orange peel for garnish, and served on the rocks. The drink had an incredibly spicy aroma and the toasty and sweet flavours were reminiscent of autumn. The second drink was the “Seville Sour,” which was a twist on the “New York Sour.” This cocktail featured Pike Creek Canadian Whiskey, Ontario maple syrup, lemon juice, egg whites, and Trius Red wine floating on top. The resulting drink had a slightly thicker consistency and was refreshing and fruit-forward with strong berry notes.

Canadian Opera Company's first Operanation Pre-Drink

As guests enjoyed the cocktails, David Mitton discussed the facts and production of the whiskies used in each drink, which made the entire tasting that much more special. While hearing the passion that poured out of his heart (no pun intended), the guests cannot help but feel and appreciate his enthusiasm for Canadian whiskey. Shortly before the tasting concluded, Jean-Phillipe and Michael, two members of the COC’s Ensemble Studio, performed a beautiful aria that left the guests in awe. When it came time to vote for the party’s signature cocktail, it was the “Fall Fiesta” that was the chosen winner with a margin of nine votes to six.

With Operanation just days away, the wait for this dazzling affair will be almost too much to bear. For more information on Operanation and the Canadian Opera Company, check out operanation.ca and coc.ca.

Read also: Operanation 2013

(image credit: Canadian Opera Company)

COC’s first ever Operanation’s Pre-Drink Party

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