The Canadian Opera Company hosted its annual fundraiser, OperaNation, on Thursday, October 16. As North America’s largest opera party, over one thousand people trekked through the heavy rainstorm to attend this glamourous event. Now in its eleventh year, the money raised from this event will provide substantial support for the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young and rising opera professionals.
For this year’s OperaNation, the party pays homage to The Barber of Seville, the 17th century comedic opera that is part of this year’s season of productions at the Canadian Opera Company. Combined with this year’s theme, Light up the Night, the party was a luminous and elegant explosion of art, music, and neon lights. All three floors of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts looked like an upscale rave with dashes of Spanish flair.
Highlights of the evening included the interactive art installations, the fine selection of Spanish hors d’oeuvres, and the raffle. The fried artichokes and paella were good, but the churros served in espresso cups were out-of-this-world delicious! The raffle featured some amazing prizes including tickets to an exclusive concert to The Tragically Hip, two gala dinner tickets to Centre Stage: Ensemble Studio Competition Gala, and a $10,000 shopping spree- complete with a personal shopper-to The Room. For every raffle ticket that the guests bought, they received edgy and specially designed slap bracelets from Canadian fashion designers, Beaufille, Sarah Stevenson, and Kaelen. The roving performance piece entitled, “Keith Cole’s Yacht Rawk Club,” got groups of people onto the dance floor. Performance artist Keith Cole (who looked glamourous in a black formal gown and black boa), led guests through a choreographed ballet dance set to eighties alternative rock music.
This biggest hit of the night was the live musical performance by the French electro-dance pop act, Yelle. Their high energy and catchy hooks set the dance floor on fire and got the crowds grooving to the infectious beats. Later, four of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio vocalists joined Yelle on stage for four songs. Songs performed hits from their latest album, Completement Fou, including “Completement Fou,” Je Veux Te Voir,” and “Safari Disco Club.” Their dramatic operatic voices and Yelle’s electropop sound made for an exciting mashup that blew everyone’s minds and ears away. Once the performance ended, the guests danced the night away to music provided by DJ Cozmic Cat and DJ Phil.
To say that the eleventh annual OperaNation: Light up the Night fundraiser was an entertaining evening would be a great understatement. The entire night was a multisensory, accessible, and festive celebration of the arts in the name of charity. Food and fashion, dance and opera, even bright neon light installations—it was all to show that opera music can be stylish, fun, and enjoyed by everyone, regardless of age and/or class. The funds raised from this year’s OperaNation will ensure that the Ensemble Studio program will continue to nurture the potential of the young and talented opera stars of tomorrow and making opera accessible to all. For more information on the Canadian Opera Company, the Ensemble Studio, and their many fundraising efforts, check out their official website at http://www.coc.ca
(photo credit: Tara Noelle, Ryan Emberley Even Bergstra, Tyler Rum)
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