The Canadian Opera Company’s (COC) annual Operanation fundraiser event took place at the Four Seasons Centre last week (May 16) for one of Toronto’s most highly anticipated social events. With 100 per cent of the evening’s proceeds going towards the COC’s Ensemble Studio, the nation’s premier training program for young Canadian opera artists, guests stepped into a fairytale world for a good cause.
Celebrating its 15th year, and hosted by COC Ensemble Studio grad, Danika Lorèn, the evening featured delicious eats from the Chase Hospitality Group, along with a range of must-have signature cocktails by Spirit of York Distillery, including Rusalka’s Sea (Spirit of York vodka, fresh lemon juice, butterfly pea tea syrup, and ginger beer), and the Nessun Dorma (Spirit of York Gin, cassis, lime, and sparkling water), along with many placebo cocktails that were expertly crafted by Rosalinda Restaurant.
The food menu was any foodie’s dream spread. Featuring a flatbread station that featured a mouth-watering mushroom roast garlic béchamel with hen of the woods, and lemon miso vinaigrette, & grilled chicories with roast eggplant, and spring chimichurri. The raw bar featured the best seafood Toronto has to offer with oysters, tuna sashimi, Fogo Island cod rillettes, and smoked and pickled mussels. The desert of the evening was a delectable croquembouche (choux cream puffs in spun sugar). And finally the main canapés featured seared king oyster mushroom with sprouted legume salad and maple vinaigrette,beef tartare with sherry mayo, salsa verde, and fresh horseradish, on a crostini, fried chicken with white BBQ sauce, fried cashew goat cheese with rhubarb compote, and smoked salmon served on sourdough with mustard creme fraiche & pickled onions.
One of the many highlights of the evening was the interactive candy house on display. With the evening’s theme being inspired by fairytales, guests could grab marshmallow squares of varying flavours (smores, birthday cake, etc) for a light, delicious treat. Created by Miranda Odorico, the owner of The Sweet Retreat, the marshmallows had a textured design to make them look like little bricks. Inspired by the witch’s home in Hansel & Gretel, Odorico used four pounds of gelatin to make 800 marshmallows, which had a total weight of almost 100 pounds.
Beyond the glamour and the fantastic food though was the always unique musical pairing of opera and a contemporary musical artist. This year, the crowd enjoyed Toronto-based singer-songwriter-producer Joseph of Mercury, who crooned through some of his hits “Without Words,” “Young Thing” and “Find You Inside.” The up-and-coming artist enthralled the capacity crowd and left them wanting more.
If you weren’t in attendance at Operanation, you missed out on some of the best food, drinks, music, and culture that Toronto has to offer.