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With a “La Dolce Vita” theme, the Canadian Opera Company's black-and-white Operanation cocktail reception on Friday brought more than 1,100 young professionals to the new Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts to experience a new take on the decadence of Italy in the 1960s. As guests walked up and down the longest free-spanning glass staircase in the world, they indulged in risotto, antipasto, gelato, and delicate Italian desserts and took in the view of downtown Toronto.
COC special events manager Sarah Jarvis said the benefit's committee worked especially hard to lure guests this year. “In this day and age, there's such a demand and almost an oversaturation of young professional events,” said Jarvis, who said their main outreach to guests included personal emails, a Facebook group, flyers throughout the city two weeks before the event, and, of course, word of mouth. “It seems like every week there's something new cropping up, which is fantastic, but at the same time it's a challenge to compete in this market now, so we wanted to do something that was very significant that went hand in hand with the Canadian Opera Company.”
At the black-and-white reception, guests found soft lighting, a projector showing 1960s clips from Italy, and mood music that got the partygoers swaying, as well as tables draped in black silk-blend cloths with white calla lilies and candlelight that captured loose pearl accents.
Prior to the reception, more than 100 people took part in an Italian dinner created by the Association of Italian Chefs of Canada and in an exclusive pre-event champagne reception called La Dolce Vita Premio. COC singers Michael Barrett and Virginia Hatfield sang at dinner and later at the main event, followed by a fashion show of clothes from Versace and HBC's the St. Regis Room. The event also included a silent auction of high-end products such as Blackberry phones, a Canon digital camera, and a private tour of the Four Seasons Centre, as well as a chance to win a Vespa in a raffle.