Operanat10n Tempts the Senses With a Fusion of Rock, Opera and Fashion

On Thursday (October 24th), one of our favourite young professional (YP) charity events, Operanation, infused Toronto’s Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts with a seductive young energy that lasted all evening. Operanat10n: A Night of Temptation, the Canadian Opera Company’s 10th annual fundraising event, was designed to test our resistance to temptation. Case in point: things like the shameless macaroni and cheese station complete with every topping imaginable, sweet treats that included a perfectly-curated candy station, and no shortage of easy-on-the eyes guests. Throw the always sexy Sam Roberts into the mix and it was borderline overload.

In a unique celebration of sound, fashion (the city’s stylish set was out in full force) and sensation, Operanat10n: A Night of Temptation was inspired by Così fan tutte, a popular comedic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, which comes to the COC in 2014 in a new production directed by Atom Egoyan. The event benefits the COC’s Ensemble Studio, Canada’s premier training program for young opera professionals.

There is something distinctly refined and glamourous about an event held at the multi-level glassy venue, complete with its central staircase that draws attention to the ball gown-clad guests that so gracefully make their way up and down. This, however, didn’t mean an accompanying stuffy feel to the event thanks to things like a mash-up performance between the beloved six-time Juno-winning Sam Roberts Band (Sam remained as passionate on stage as ever) and the COC’s Ensemble Studio artists, including the well-known alumni Ambur Braid. Offering a break from the banter, the performance had guests singing and dancing along despite some of the restrictive outfit choices.

In terms of fashion, Operanation always offers a chance to go as glamourous as one should desire, and the theme invited more seductive outfit choices than the venue has likely seen in awhile. This meant things like alluring lace and cut-outs on evening gowns, dramatic eyes, red lipstick, dangerously form-fitting red numbers and a sea of little black dresses of all designs to complement the perfectly tailoured, crisp, suave suits.

The Sam Roberts Band partnered up with acclaimed fashion label KAELEN (stay tuned for our interview with the NYC-based YP designer later this week) to design a special edition concert tee to commemorate Operanation 2013. Seen on Notable.ca’s founder Julian Brass, the t-shirts were sold on-site for $100 each, with all proceeds also supporting the COC’s Ensemble Studio.

The event is designed to cater to the YP set, some of who may still view the opera as stuffy and something reserved for our parents. “Operanation began 10 years ago as a fundraising initiative and has since expanded to become an extraordinary platform for the Canadian Opera Company to reach new and younger audiences,” says COC General Director Alexander Neef. “Operanation demonstrates how versatile opera can be by pairing our classical singers with exceptional modern musicians to create a truly unique party performance. We’re thrilled to welcome the Sam Roberts Band to our opera house to commemorate this very exciting 10th anniversary.”

Since its inception, Operanation has grown from an intimate fundraiser of 300 guests to the largest opera party in North America, with over 1,000 guests annually in attendance. In 2010, Alexander Neef and Jeffrey Remedios, Arts & Crafts President and Operanation Co-chair, re-envisioned the event with the introduction of musical collaborations by modern, popular artists with the COC’s Ensemble Studio singers. Previous Operanation events have featured musical guests like Nelly Furtado, Rufus Wainwright, the Arkells, Austra and Broken Social Scene.

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