Preview: OperaNat10n, A Night Of Temptation (Canadian Opera Company)

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The Canadian Opera Company kicks off their new season with a star-studded gala fundraiser for OperaNat10n: A Night of Temptation inspired by the works of Mozart

Canadian Opera Company gala fundraiser Operanation, a melange of art forms and pleasures designed to draw guests close to the company (and part them from their contributions, to be sure) draws inspiration from the COC’s upcoming season in creating an annual event theme. Operanat10n: A Night of Temptation is inspired by Così fan tutte, a popular comedic opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, coming to the COC in 2014 in a new production directed by Atom Egoyan. Operanat10n: A Night of Temptation immerses guests in the classic story of seduction, duplicity and love as elements of the opera are translated into food, fashion, music and art.

This year’s featured contemporary music act, the Sam Roberts Band, a multi-platinum and Juno award winning quintet of Montrealers. The gala will be the Sam Roberts Band’s first-ever operatic performance, and they’ll play and sing alongside members of the COC’s Ensemble Studio (so, no pressure).

We caught up with some of the contributors to the upcoming festivities for a few questions about the music and fashion extravaganza:

Ambur BraidCOC Ensemble Studio alumni and soprano. This will be Ambur’s 4th time collaborating in an Operanation performance this year being with Sam Roberts Band.

MoT: What moment of the evening are you most looking forward to?

Operanat10n is always a fun night to reconnect with the people I have not seen in a while because every one is there. This year I will unfortunately be missing the dinner and the cocktail portion because I have an Opera Atelier performance the same evening. I will sing Konstanze, take off that costume and wig, put on my gown and rush over to the Four Seasons Centre to hop on stage with Sam Roberts. I am very excited to sing with that band.

The last time I saw Sam Roberts in a room I ran the other way because I was so flustered and nervous. I’ll try not to do that this time.

 MoT: Why is opera interesting? Why should we support it?

AB: Opera is a platform of expression that can take people out of their daily lives and allow them to feel something. Opera heightens human emotions, political issues and every day life so that we can escape into that world for a night, or even find comfort in our selves. Who doesn’t want that?

One of many reasons it is important to support Opera is because it’s an art form that involves so many mediums of expression and creativity. Collaboration is key! This is why we always do collaborations for Operanation in fashion, musical and visual arts (as well as the gastronomic arts because food and wine are VERY important). If we can mash up an operatic aria to a popular song in order to make it a little more wild for a party, it can be a great introduction to Opera for some people. Throw in Sam Roberts’ blue eyes and we have an epic evening ahead.

MoT: Any surprises in store for attendees on the 24th?

It probably won’t come as a surprise, but I will bust out the “rock arm” again. This is worth admission alone. Get ready.

Jon Sasaki is a Toronto-based multi-disciplinary artist working on a special video installation to be unveiled at Operanat10n: A Night of Temptation. The video will incorporate opera singers from the COC and will experiment with pitch and tone.

MoT: Why are you excited to be involved in this event?

JS: I’m really excited to be collaborating with the skilled and dedicated performers from the Canadian Opera Company Ensemble Studio for this project! We’ll be working together on a video piece that will probably take some of them a bit out of their comfort zones, but I’m thrilled that all of the singers have taken on the challenge! Having the opportunity to work with artists outside of my direct field and seeing different approaches to the creative process is always very rewarding… I invariably learn a lot from these situations.

Not to mention, I love the Four Seasons Centre building and am really pleased to be making new work that will be featured in that beautiful space. I enjoy the challenge of making artwork for “non-white cube” contexts. The building exudes an incredible warmth and geniality… two things I’ve encountered in abundance while working with people from the COC. This will be my first time attending Operanation; after hearing rave reviews for years I’m very happy to be taking part!

Join them at Operanat10n on Thursday, 24 October at 9pm at the Four Seasons Centre. Tickets, which are $150, can be had online or by calling the COC box office at 416.363.8231.