Friday, October 20, 2006

Operanation and the Mayor's Art Awards

I have indulged in a steady diet of canap├ęs and cocktails since beginning this column, but not before this week have I enjoyed those vices in such excellent company and remarkable settings.

Our journey begins on Friday October 13 with Operanation, a fundraiser for the Canadian Opera Company. Held in the marvelous new Four Seasons Centre for Performing Arts, designed by Jack Diamond and associates, we were treated to private performances throughout the evening, a free-flowing bar, and an opera themed selection of snacks positioned brilliantly throughout the three levels of the massive space.

In honour of La Boheme we nibbled on melt-in-your-mouth brie among a selection of other delectable cheeses and pastries. Tosca brought us biscotti, Illy espresso and a selection of sorbets. The Ring Cycle tempted us with bratwurst, sauerkraut, pickles and rich mustard. The best tuna sashimi I have ever tasted, and Lychee martinis, were offered by Madame Butterfly.
A silent auction was also in play, with items ranging from Maurice Vellekoop’s new book, A Nut at the Opera, to donations from New Balance, Flirty Girl Fitness, PASH Jewellery Design, and many others.

The event was aimed at the hip and rich; part of an exciting new campaign to attract young professionals to the opera. The effort is called 'Opera for a New Age', and includes $20 tickets to each performance which are reserved for those under 30. However, Operanation also drew in the more mature set; those who seemed to appreciate the music over the martinis, and who were as engaging as they were truly interesting. The fundraising effort, coordinated by Tami Shapiro, Melissa Than, and a committee of dedicated young opera-lovers, has begun well. The first performance of the season, Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, is sold out, and the glass walls of the Four Seasons – literally glowing from within - reached their capacity that night. In sum, the COC hosted a very well-staged event.

Mayor David Miller and the Toronto Arts Coalition Foundation [TACF] honored artists of all kinds during an exclusive awards luncheon at the Fairmount Royal York Hotel on Thursday, Oct. 5. The TACF supports artists by providing them with appreciation, visibility, and material resources, subsidizing existing arts council support through private and corporate investors. Master of ceremonies Jian Ghomeshi of CBC kept everyone entertained, while prizes ranging in value from $10,000 to valuable works of art were handed out. Albert Schultz won the William Kilbourn Award for the Celebration of Toronto's Cultural Life, and Sun Life Financial was nominated for the Toronto Business for the Arts Award. The young and multitalented Peter Chin was awarded the Muriel Sherrin Award for International Achievement in Music and Dance, one of the most prestigious awards of the afternoon.

Published in The Women's Post, October 20 2006