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How a Benefit's Theme Combined Lights, Spain, and the '90s

With the theme, "Light Up the Night" and inspiration from its forthcoming production of The Barber of Seville, the Canadian Opera Company entertained 1,000 guests at its 11th annual Operanation benefit.

By Amanda Scriver November 3, 2014, 7:30 AM EST

Photo: Ryan Emberly

Canadian Opera Company's Operanation
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Described by co-chair Randi Bergman as a “Spanish-inspired rave,” the Canadian Opera Company’s 11th annual Operanation took over the Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts on October 16. The theme for the fund-raiser to support the company’s Ensemble Studio was “Light Up the Night,” which saw organizers mix light installations with cubism, Spanish influences, and nods to the ‘90s.

“The theme was inspired by the Canadian Opera Company's production of The Barber of Seville,” said Tracy Briggs, the Canadian Opera Company’s senior manager of special events. “We put a ‘90s spin on the modern Spanish theme and introduced a lot of neon.”

For the 1,000 guests that attended the sold-out affair, that meant snap bracelets by fashion designers Beaufille, Sarah Stevenson Design, and Kaelen and decor made from repurposed cassette tapes; Spanish-inspired bites and a signature whiskey cocktail dubbed “La Fiesta de Otoño” from Dave Mitton of the Harbord Room; and artist Orest Tataryn’s neon pieces.

Throughout the evening, staffers selling tickets for the annual raffle worked the room, wearing wigs from past opera company productions and makeup to match the cubist-inspired set of the forthcoming production of The Barber of Seville.

Entertainment was designed to be equally as engaging and included a flash mob by performance artist Keith Cole. “When we talked about what we wanted Keith to do for the event, the focus was certainly to engage the guests and have them be able to participate. He came up with Keith Cole's Yacht Rawk flash mob and everyone seemed to love it,” said Briggs. On the event’s main stage, French dance-pop band Yelle performed alongside opera company’s Ensemble Studio.

Operanation raised more than $100,000 in support of the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble Studio, a training program for young opera professionals.

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