Inside Friday’s Operanation ball: Toronto’s glitterati, Arthur Mendonça, Ashley Rowe, Greta Constantine, Rufus Wainwright, and Austra
It’s not very often that an evening can be described as unforgettable, but Operanation 8: A Muse Ball was exactly that. Last Friday, the Canadian Opera Company’s annual gala took over the three-storied lobby of the Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts, a glittering venue that had passersby on University Avenue gawking through the windows, and with good reason.
Yorkville’s Rac Boutique put together a fashion installation of custom-made designs by Canadian labels like Calla, Joeffer Caoc, Ashley Rowe, and Greta Constantine. Since the wares were showcased by models more mannequin than mortal, more than one of the 1,100 guests was excused for mistakenly fondling the ladies’ outfits. But really, who could resist copping a feel of that floor-length, electric-purple Arthur Mendonça number?
The highlight of the evening (and my year) was an intimate performance by headliner Rufus Wainwright, who wowed guests with nary more than his voice and a grand piano. Opening with a heartbreaking rendition of “The Art Teacher,” the singer joked that despite an impending move to Toronto to be with partner and newly minted Luminato-chair Jorn Weisbrodt, he’d be keeping a pied-à-terre in Manhattan.
At midnight, Polaris Prize short-listers Austra took the stage, accompanied by the COC’s soprano Ambur Braid and baritone Adrian Krama. The rising opera stars lent their skills to “Lose It” and “Beat and the Pulse,” sending us home with sounds of sweet melodies playing in our heads.
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