By Leah Webber Posted April 13, 2011, 1:35 PM EDT
TORONTO Canadian opera company Opera Atelier celebrated its 25th anniversary April 6 with a gala fund-raising event at the Carlu. The gala grew significantly from years past, with attendance up 40 percent over last year, to 240 guests.
“This year we have more sponsorship, so we were able to amp things up in scale and have more surprises,” said gala committee chair Ambur Braid.
Upgrades included designer props and high-end furnishings, as well as taking on professional event planner Jennifer Basset of Basset Productions, who assisted with garnering sponsorship and relieved committee members of dealing with last-minute details.
Playing off of the Opera’s period costumes, the gala included a dinner fashion show hosted by Fashion Television’s Jeanne Beker, as well as a live auction featuring a wardrobe complied by 25 top Canadian designers, valued at $25,000.
The evening started with a cocktail reception in the venue’s lobby sponsored by Links of London. Four tables displayed the brand’s luxe jewelry and signage, and instead of hors d’oeuvres, silver trays held stacks of Links boxes that were offered to guests as a raffle; each box either contained a Links gift certificate of varying amounts or a silver ballet slipper charm.
“It’s fun and interactive, and we personalize the donation for the charity,” said Rob Carter, area manager for Links.
Also in the lobby, two large tables were decked out in black tablecloths, mirrored obelisks, and 75 silent-auction items, while Contemporary Furniture Rentals outfitted the seating and sipping areas with round banquettes, mirrored drinks tables, and black Ghost chairs.
On board for a second year, Food Network Canada chef Corbin Tomaszeski created a menu inspired by the Renaissance and spring, and Nadége constructed dessert centerpieces of molded chocolate adorned with bite-size macaroons.